Open Forum

Big Fish The Musical

  • 1.  Big Fish The Musical

    Posted 09-07-2021 14:01
    Hey all - I'm in a bit of a conundrum - we've licensed the School version of Big Fish for our show next spring.  Upon receive the pre-planning materials I see that the music selection for the scene when Edward and Will are fighting in Act 2 is different in the school version.  I was a little concerned about the lyrics "there's gonna be a hanging tonight" in the full version - but my choreographer thinks the song in the school version is dull and doesn't convey the story as well.

    Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with this? Anyone do the full show and get in trouble for the Showdown song? Will TRW let me switch versions?

    Thanks in advance!

    Toni Thomas
    English Teacher, Theatre Director
    Ogemaw Heights High School

  • 2.  RE: Big Fish The Musical

    Posted 09-08-2021 06:45
    We did the regular version a few years ago. I shared your concerns at the time. My collaborators convinced it would be okay and in the end it was.

  • 3.  RE: Big Fish The Musical

    Posted 09-08-2021 09:38
    In my experience TRW is super flexible, so they may let you switch versions. That said, we found the school version to be the better choice- "The River  Between Us" is incredibly powerful. Your choreographer is likely disappointed because "The Showdown" was a group number with dancing. Re: the lynching reference,  it would probably be wise to avoid that... Also "Two Men in My Life" is a nice song, but "Magic in the Man"(school version) is more interesting and I think helps you understand Sandra's relationship with Edward better. We loved doing that show.

  • 4.  RE: Big Fish The Musical

    Posted 09-13-2021 10:47


    I know your post was a few weeks ago, but I wanted to respond.  We did Big Fish, the full version, in 2016, and I do not recall any negative response to "Showdown."  The song is about the strained relationship between Will and Edward.  Will thinks that Edward is hiding the truth about the deed to Jenny Hill's house and Edward's and Jenny's relationship.  Edward talks about not being able to change the past and tells Will that maybe Will is overreacting.  I think the reference in the song about a hanging is really about putting the past to rest and getting on with one's life.   Big Fish is a great show with strong characters, a touching storyline, and wonderful music.  I would not hesitate to do it.  You'll be glad you did!  


    Ken Robinson

    Kenneth Robinson
    Drama Club Sponsor
    Wapahani High School
    Selma IN

  • 5.  RE: Big Fish The Musical

    Posted 09-09-2021 13:03

    When BIG FISH first opened in Chicago, "This River Between Us" was in the show. "Showdown" was added later, pre-Broadway. Song #14, "Red, White and True" is a huge chorus/ensemble number at the beginning of Act 2, and after watching the Broadway production for a few months, the authors felt that there was not a need for Song #16 to also be another large chorus number, and #16 from the Chicago production, "This River Between Us" (where the entire cast sings but is not seen) was a better choice – and better served the story. Furthermore, "Showdown" was seen as inconsistent with the storytelling. Every "fantastical" story in BIG FISH is a story that Edward told young Will and is now being revealed to the audience (sometimes with old Will visible in the periphery remembering the story). So, we have the theatrical "story" world verses the real-world scenes. "Showdown," being added afterwards, breaks that consistency. It was created as Edward's "dementia dream." But "This River Between Us" provides a more powerful payoff between Edward and Will. As a result, when the authors learned that the Texas Thespians were producing BIG FISH as their All-State show in 2016, they suggested putting the song back into the script. The success of that version not only became BIG FISH School Edition, but it also shaped the West End production that did not include "Showdown." 

    Finally, if you are presenting the Broadway version with "Showdown", contact me directly for an alternate lyric to "There's gonna be a hangin' tonight". 

    [Jim] [Hoare]
    [Executive Vice President]
    [New York] [NY]