Marriott Theatre Presents BIG FISH Review —A Small Town With Big Heart

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He once lifted a curse from a mermaid and she grew legs…

He joined the circus and met a werewolf...

He received the golden key to the city in thanks for his good deeds…

It all seems like the stuff of dreams, fantasies, and fairy tales, but for Edward Bloom it was all real. Or at least that’s what he tells his son as he tucks him into bed. Then, the cracks begin to show in this father/son relationship in Big Fish

A Tumultuous Relationship at Marriott Theatre

All of these tall tales and adventurous stories have taken a toll on Will and his father’s relationship. Even on the eve of his wedding, Will asks his dad— for both his and his new wife’s sake— not to tell any of his stories. And so we see the cracks continuing to grow in their already fraught relationship. 

Edward, played by Alexander Gemignani, tells his stories with bounds of energy and a larger than life presence. He shifts with ease from his sixty year-old self back to a young man in his flashbacks. 

Will, played by Michael Kurowski, lashes out at his father, but as he sings Stranger, we realize underneath he’s just searching for a way to grow closer to him before it’s too late. 

No spoilers here, but as we reach the end there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as we watch these two navigate their relationship in the end.

Stagecraft Creating A Grand Adventure

Though not on a grand scale, we do feel the changes from adventure to adventure with minimal sets. The ensemble carries long, blue cloths down the aisles as Edward sings about the river. They rapidly rush back and forth as he and Will sing about the divide between them. 

The lighting changes to a soft yellow as cast members bring dozens and dozens of daffodils out to Sandra (Heidi Kettenring) as Edward proclaims his love for her. 

Not to mention the creative costumes for the various folks Edward meets on his journeys designed by Amanda Vander Byl. They range from towering heights for a giant to letterman’s jackets and cheerleading uniforms for the Ashton townspeople.

For those looking for a heartfelt musical about family in an intimate setting, this would be a good fit for you. 


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Alexander Gemignani - Edward Bloom
Heidi Kettenring - Sandra Bloom
Michael Kurowski - Will Bloom
William Daly - Young Will/Will's Son
Archer Geye- Young Will/Will's Son
Lydia Burke - Josephine Bloom, Ensemble
Brandon Dahlquist - Don Price, Ensemble
Lucy Godinez - The Witch, Alabama Lamb, Ensemble
Christopher Kale Jones - Zacky Price, Fisherman, Ensemble
Emma Rosenthal - Amos, Ensemble
Allison Sill - Jenny Hill, Alabama Lamb, Ensemble
Ayana Strutz - Girl in the Water, Ensemble
Jonah D. Winston - Karl, Ensemble
Emily Ann Brooks - Understudy
Andrew Greiche - Understudy
Andres Enriquez - Understudy
Sam Alan Johnson - Understudy
Darryl D'Angelo Jones - Understudy
Jenny McPherson - Understudy


Set designer Collette Pollard, costume designer Amanda Vander Byl, lighting designer Jesse Klug, sound designer Michael Daly, props designer Sally Zack, illusion consultant Benjamin Barnes, artistic associate Felicia P. Fields, stage manager Jessica Banaszak, assistant stage manager Richard Strimer, intimacy and fight choreographer Charlie Baker, dialect coach Eva Breneman, assistant director Lorenzo Rush, Jr. and associate director Tommy Rapley


Jan 25 – Mar 19, 2023

Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.


Marriott Theatre
Ten Marriott Drive
Lincolnshire, IL 60069



For more information and tickets visit the Marriott Theatre website.

Photos Courtesy of Marriott Theatre

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago.

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Alexis Bugajski

About the Author: Alexis Bugajski

Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski

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