Evansville Civic Theatre’s ‘BIG’ Opens Promising 93rd Season (Review)
Evansville Civic Theatre's season is officially underway!
Last Friday, I had an opportunity to check out BIG: the Musical at the Evansville Civic Theatre. I've been attending Civic Theatre shows for the past 5 seasons and always enjoy the product they put out on-stage. This season seems to be no different.
If you're familiar with the movie BIG, starring Tom Hanks, you know the basics of what the musical is about. A young boy wishes to be "big" and thus a story about a 12 year old in an adult body begins. The musical mostly follows the movie with a few changes. For one, the musical isn't nearly as creepy as the movie that it is based on. I know the movie is beloved, but c'mon, an adult woman wasn't phased by having a sexual relationship with a kid. Luckily, the musical addresses this in a funny way.
The cast of the musical was lead by Parker Dean - who plays Adult Josh - does a admirable job making the role his own while avoiding doing a Tom Hanks impression. The female lead, Devin McBride, does a great job as Josh's love interest and co-worker Susan. Rounding out the main cast are Josh's best friend, Billy, played by Wes Blaylock, Josh's mom, played by Katelyn Kaiser, and scheming co-work Paul, played wonderfully by Jason Vincent.
Everyone in the cast put in a tremendous effort. This was Wes Blaylock's first role so I look forward to seeing how he grows from this experience and hope to see the progress he makes as he becomes more comfortable on stage. Katelyn Kaiser and Jason Vincent both do a great job in their roles, often performing double-duty in ensemble roles as well as leads. The ensemble in general was great and performed with great enthusiasm.
One of the unsung heroes of Civic's production of BIG: the Musical is Charles Julius, who once again takes set design to another level. The set of BIG: the Musical is just that: big. The set design of the show was one of my favorite aspects and I look forward to seeing how Charles once again tops himself as the season goes on.
My only issue with the show has nothing to do with what director Kevin Roach brought to the stage, but rather with the original show itself. For a show that is supposed to be about a kid who is suddenly adult, you think the music would be more fun or, well, big. Many of the songs seemed to last about a minute or two long with too many ballads in the show. There was one song towards the end of Act 1 that particularly stuck out as unnecessarily long and really made the experience drag. The song was still performed brilliantly (all of the songs were done well) but would have benefited from being trimmed down or cut entirely.
Ultimately, while BIG: the Musical isn't my favorite thing that Evansville Civic Theatre has done, it's still worth checking out for the set design and the effort that the cast has put into the show. It's worth the price of admission just to see how the crew pulled off the famous floor-piano scene. If you've always wanted to a live production of BIG, you're wish has been granted by the Evansville Civic Theatre.
BIG: the Musical runs again this weekend Aug. 24th, 25th, and 26th with showtimes at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday, with a Sunday matinee at 2:00pm.