By Judy Tacyn
The Talent Machine Company, based in Millersville, is poised to enchant audiences with its spirited summer production. “Big Fish” is a two-act musical by John August, based on Daniel Wallace’s 1998 novel, “Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions.” A film adaptation of the same name was released in 2003. It’s a story of family lore and secrets. Add a witch, a mermaid, a giant, and a dose of time travel all bundled up in hilarity, and there’s proof that “fish” tales do grow taller on down the line.
Katie Peacock, “Big Fish” director, said audiences will be thrilled with the young thespians’ adaption of the musical. “‘Big Fish’ is a roller coaster ride of emotions as it journeys through the happy, heartbreaking and the laughable moments of a family,” Peacock said. “Overall, expect the unexpected - the story is full of twists and turns that audiences are bound to be surprised.”
This show will have more dancing and scenic elements than the Broadway version. “Some people may know the story from the book or the Tim Burton movie. The musical is a little different than either one,” Peacock said. “Although all three are similar, the musical is a bit more comedic and strays from the story when it comes to the details.”
Peacock wanted to choose a challenging production for her young, large ensemble of 41 children ages 7 to 14, who hail from all over the region.
“Our selection processes always differs depending on directors, but specifically, I wanted a show that would be exciting for adults and children alike,” Peacock said. “We were searching and looking at different shows when I landed on ‘Big Fish,’ and we all loved the story and knew that was going to be our top choice.”
The director added that the kids have been working hard, including Saturday and Sunday rehearsals since April to learn the dialogue, lyrics, and dance steps.
“I don’t want to jinx anything, but I am happy where we are at and we are excited and ready to open on July 12,” Peacock added.
Severna Park Middle School student Kate Roberts has been acting for three years. “Big Fish” is her second show with the Talent Machine Company. Roberts plays the Bearded Lady.
“I like playing the Bearded Lady because I get to make people laugh with my character, and I love making people laugh and be happy,” the rising seventh-grader said.
Roberts is just one member of a talented cast, which the director said is a big reason why audiences will love this production.
“For me, it’s definitely working with the kids, as they are all so kind and talented. It is really enjoyable to work with them,” she added. “For the audience, I would think that all of the fantastical characters is surely going to be a lot of fun.”
Roberts said that while the production is a musical, the scenes will reel in the audience.
“It is an emotional musical with lots of fun numbers,” Roberts said. “The costumes are very colorful and the choreography is exciting. ‘Big Fish’ is fun to watch. It is full of emotion and the stories within the show are like dreams. It’s just an amazing show overall.”
The show will run July 12–14 and July 18–21 at the Francis Scott Key Auditorium at St. John’s College in Annapolis. Evening and matinee showtimes are scheduled. Tickets are $15 and are available online at www.talentmachine.com.
Severna Park actors include Kate Hibbard, Gianna Dicks, Olivia Blake, Delainey Parker and Roberts.