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][TRW][New York] [NY]------------------------------
Hello,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!