Having failed to reel in large audiences or enthusiastic reviews, Big Fish, the musical based on Daniel Wallace’s novel Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions and Tim Burton’s 2003 film, will close on Dec. 29 after 34 previews and 98 regular performances. After a pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago, the show opened at the Neil Simon Theater on Oct. 6.
Five-time Tony winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, Oklahoma!) directs and choreographs. Two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Catch Me If You Can), and Tony nominees Kate Baldwin (Finian’s Rainbow) and Bobby Steggert (Ragtime) also star in this fabulous fable of a father and son connecting across the years. The music and lyrics are by Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party, The Addams Family) and John August (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Corpse Bride), author of the film’s screenplay, writes the book. The cast also includes Krystal Joy Brown (Leap of Faith), Zachary Unger (Chaplin), and Tony nominee Brad Oscar (The Producers).
The story focuses on charming storyteller and travelling salesman Edward Bloom (Butz) whose loose relationship with the truth estranges his son Will (Steggert) who is about to have a child of his own. As Edward’s health declines, he tells Will the story of his life—an adventurous saga full of witches, werewolves, giants, and his quest for his true love, Will’s mother Sandra (Baldwin).
“Big Fish is about the passing on of stories and from the tremendous audience reaction we have received we know our tale will live on,” said producer Dan Jinks in a statement, “I am so proud of our entire team for creating a unique, heartfelt and inspiring stage production. Big Fish has been one of the great joys of my career.”
While Butz’s performance and Storman’s staging received kudos from the critics, the show’s other elements, including the score and script, got middling notices. This announcement follows hard on the heels of similar Broadway notifications from First Date and A Time to Kill which posted closing notices late last week.