“Big Fish” bloomed at Willow Valley

Josh Rittberg

Staff Writer

"Big Fish" tells the story of a father who loves storytelling. (Photo Courtesy of
“Big Fish” tells the story of a father who loves storytelling. (Photo Courtesy of

On October 2, Willow Valley Communities Cultural Center Theater presented Big Fish: the Musical. It was a magical closing night for an amazing show. Big Fish tells the story of a man named Edward Bloom (Ray Hilton) who loves telling tall tales to his son Will (Nathan Goodrich). As Will gets older, he starts to question his father’s stories and even his father’s own life. Soon after his wedding day, Will finds out that his father is dying of cancer, with his new wife Josephine (Lindsey Aerial Grimble) expecting a baby along the way, Will seeks to uncover the truth in his father’s big fish tales.

Edward Bloom was played with a warm presence by Ray Hilton. The character of Edward has to carry the whole musical on his shoulders and Ray Hilton does just that with ease and confidence. Nathan Goodrich as Edward’s son Will was in very fine voice at the closing performance and he added a grounded feel to this big musical.

Stephanie Lee gave a very touching performance as Edward’s loving wife Sandra Bloom. Her act two heartbreaker I don’t need a roof left most of the audiences in tears.

Other standouts included Lindsey Aeriel Grumble as Will’s wife Josephine, Darren Wagner who steals every scene he’s in as Karl the friendly giant and Lancaster high school student Sophia Echavarria wows in her turn as The Witch in her big act one showstopper I know what you want. Even though she is only in high school, I don’t think this is the last we will hear of Sophia Echavarria, she was a real powerhouse.

The score by Andrew Lippa and book and lyrics by John August manages to keep the show going strong as the audience moves through Edward’s grand adventures.

The set and lighting design had a lot of people helping to make this musical come to life and it showed. The sets and lights made the musical flow with cinematic flair and it was truly magical.

Unfortunately, the Prima Theater’s production of Big Fish closed this past weekend, but if a production of Big Fish gets performed in your town, you do not want to miss it. It’s is a wonderful night of theater that will make you laugh, cry and maybe even leap with joy, what else could you ask for in a night of theater?