SGT brings you a Black Friday special….. early 🙂
FREE SHIPPING on all SGT costume clutches and merchandise- in PLENTY of time for the holidays! From $25 one of a kind clutches made from upcycled costume fabric to $40 full zip hoodies to keep out the Buffalo chill, support the arts in style! CLICK HERE TO SHOP 🙂
This is the story of Edward Bloom, an Alabama traveling salesman who compulsively spins tall tales about his life. These incredible yarns are filled with fantastic people and improbable events. In time, his only child, Will, becomes frustrated with his father’s elusiveness about his true past, and resentful and suspicious of his father’s frequent absences.
This is a story of estrangement and reconciliation between father and son.
I liked the original production, which I first saw in Chicago previous to its Broadway run. The story was fresh. The characters were complex and compelling.
It was clear, however, that the lavish Broadway production smothered its intimate story under mountains of stage magic and scenic artistry. The show closed in less than three months.
By contrast, the Second Generation production, now at Shea’s Smith Theatre, bursts onto the stage with playful imagination, simplicity and love. The Smith Theatre has been reconfigured with seats wrapped around the audience on three sides, giving the space added intimacy.
Director/choreographer Michael Walline has approached the material with originality. In the opening prologue, his introduction of the characters that inhabit Bloom’s imaginary world is thrilling. A witch, a mermaid, a giant, a fisherman, a cheerleader and childhood friends quite literally leap into the action, setting the tone for everything to come.
The fanciful landscape of Bloom’s mind has been conjured with delightful invention by set designer Chris Cavanagh; video and projection design by Brian Milbrand; costumes by Jess Wegrzyn; and props by Diane Jones. It all seems to have been propelled from Bloom’s singular imagination by hand.
Effects that stole the show on Broadway – and not in a good way – here augment it. Broadway’s enormous dancing elephants are adorably replaced by nothing more than parasols, a gray sheet and some actors. The supernatural mystery of a witch is established with the abrupt ripple of a handheld fans opening in unison. Themes and locations are whimsically suggested by Milbrand’s superior videography.
The witch, played by Victoria Perez, is entirely reconceived, not as a Broadway vamp, but as a Spanish lady of mystery, proffering Bloom’s future in her handheld crystal ball – an LED lamp that changes colors. So simple. So magical. (And it doesn’t hurt that Perez is bewitchingly fabulous.)
Broadway assembled a cast of stars to play the Bloom family: Norbert Leo Butz as Edward, Bobby Steggert as Will and lovely Kate Baldwin as Susan. They were perfection, and yet the tension, wrought by the powerful alchemy of love and estrangement, feels far more potent at the Smith Theatre. With the proportions of the show brought down to human scale, the conflict between Edward and Will becomes more equally balanced, and the stakes seem more personal.
Lou Colaiacovo travels the journey of Edward’s life with irresistible gregariousness, while still showing us the qualities that so frustrate his son.
Ricky Needham embodies the difficult role of bitter Will with confidence, compassion, and a strong singing voice, proving that he can carry a show in the process.
As Sandra, Michele Marie Roberts provides several of the evening’s emotional highlights – especially in her solo numbers. Here is a woman who loves her husband unreservedly, and who needs her son to recognize the magic in the man.
Together, the three actors evoke a powerful bond of love and unresolved conflict.
This cast of 14 seems enormous. Each character is vivid. Dave Spychalski gives a sensational turn as Karl, the affable and erudite giant. Also convincing and wonderful are Brittany Bassett as Will’s sympathetic wife; Stevie Jackson as Bloom’s high school girlfriend; Bethany Burrows as the mermaid; Jacob Albarella as circus owner Amos Calloway; Bobby Cooke and Preston Williams as Bloom’s hometown friends; and Alex Watts and Alejandro Gomez in ensemble roles. Child actor Noah Bielecki, who plays Young Will, deserves special mention for giving a truly professional performance, amplified by his sheer adorability.
While watching “Big Fish” I predict that you will experience a strong impulse to reach out to characters who are physically within your reach, but purely imaginary inventions. I further prophesize that people and events from your own life will swirl uncontrollably in your memory as you leave the theater. This is a special evening, and Second Generation is emerging as major player on the Buffalo theater landscape.
4 stars (out of 4 stars)
Presented by Second Generation Theatre Company through Oct. 28 at Shea’s Smith Theatre (658 Main St.). Tickets are $30 general with discounts available. Visit secondgenerationtheatre.com/tickets .
Big Fish is off and running-catch this spectacular production while you can! Click below to read the full reviews!
Buffalo native and Artistic Director of STARRING BUFFALO!, Drew Fornarola, joins Second Generation Theatre for a master class on vocal auditions Sunday, October 14 from 11am-1pm. Drew is the co-author of STRAIGHT, COLLEGE: THE MUSICAL, VOTE FOR ME, CLAUDIO QUEST and more. His work has been performed all around the world, and was recently featured at Musicalfare Theatre.
Second Generation Theatre is proud to welcome Kate Boswell as our new Literary Director! A long-time SGT friend and volunteer, Kate’s contributions include securing our connection with Kenmore Presbyterian Church, teaching playwriting classes as part of our Free Theatre Workshop Saturdays, and most recently, taking over direction of SGT’s Free Play Readings throughout the season. We are proud to welcome Kate as an official member of the Second Generation team and look forward to sharing her work with you on September 10th where she will coordinate a reading of Theresa Rebeck’s MAURITIUS, directed by Rosa Fernandez. Cast information to be posted next week.
Peter Hall and Anthony Chase discuss SGT’s exciting move to the Shea’s Smith and the celebration of our Last Five Years on August 5th! Listen HERE!
SGT invites YOU to celebrate our move to the Shea’s Smith Theatre with a one night only concert event! Starring your favorite performers bringing back your favorite moments from Into The Woods, Assassins, The Wild Party, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Light in the Piazza, “The Last Five Years of SGT” promises to be a night to remember.
Tickets available for $25 at secondgenerationtheatre.com/tickets/
View our teaser video here: The Best of Second Generation Theatre
Join SGT for a FREE reading of Edward Albee’s THREE TALL WOMEN. Directed by Matt Refermat and starring Kelly Meg Brennan, Bethany Burrows and Christina Rausa.
The reading will be held at Kenmore Presbyterian Church, 2771 Delaware Ave, Kenmore NY 14217. Donations for the KPC food pantry graciously accepted in the form of cash or canned goods.
Join us for a wonderful play and discussion to follow!
SGT will host our first summer camp for ages 6-17 July 16-20 at Kenmore Presbyterian Church (2771 Delaware Ave, Kenmore NY 14217). Led by SGT Co-Founders Kelly Copps & Arin Lee Dandes with Bobby Cooke & Phil Farugia, this 5 day 9am-3pm camp introduces students to singing, acting, dancing, designing, and more. $150 per student. Visit our CLASS page for registration information!
SGT proudly announces PAGE TO STAGE 3!
Join SGT favorites Jacob Albarella, Leah Berst, Lou Colaiacovo, Bobby Cooke, Steve Copps, Arin Dandes, Arianne Davidow, Matthew Iwanski, Amy Jakiel, Dudney Joseph Jr. and Katy Miner in concert! With favorites from GUYS AND DOLLS and LITTLE WOMEN, PAGE TO STAGE is an evening of raffles, silent auctions, food, drink, and song. Join us for SGT’s biggest fundraising event of the year.
Hosted at beautiful Musicalfare Theatre in Amherst, NY, PAGE TO STAGE is a favorite event of SGT patrons. Don’t miss out! Tickets available HERE or by calling (716)508-7480.
We are thrilled to be a part of the Shea’s 2018-2019 Season Announcement event on March 13. We hope you will join us as Shea’s unveils their exciting plans for the coming theatre season including three full productions from Second Generation Theatre in our new home at the Shea’s Smith Theatre!