A Really BIG Show at HP&P

by Jessica Martin

BIG, THE MUSICAL, now at Haddonfield Plays and Players, is a worthy reminder of the familiar saying (perhaps not yet an adage):  “Be careful what you wish for because you might get it.” Adapted by John Weidman with music by David Shire and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., it is based on the successful Ton Hanks movie Big.  It tells of a 12-year-old boy (from New Jersey!), Josh Baskin ( Michael Trimble), who longs to be bigger so that he won’t become tongue-tied every time he tries to talk to pretty Cynthia Benson (Elese Bevelheimer or Juillian Zupito), who is all of 13. When he sees her at a carnival with another, older boy, he runs away and finds himself in a section featuring fun houses and arcade games. One machine, “Zoltar Speaks,” invites him to make a wish. He blurts out, “I want to be big!” With a clap of thunder and sudden rain, Josh receives a card saying “Your wish is granted” and runs home. The next day he wakes up to find himself a full-grown man. His mother (Samantha DeWitt) thinks he has kidnapped her Josh and eventually chases him out of the house.

Josh’s best friend, Billy (Wes Hopkins), finally believes who he is and suggests that they go to New York to find another “Zoltar” machine. They are unsuccessful and become separated, but Josh meets George MacMillan (Steve Rogina), owner of a large toy company whose sales are slipping. Being a 12-year-old boy in the body of a grown-up, Josh teaches him a few things about toys. MacMillan hires him as a consultant. He meets another girl, Susan (Kaitlyn Delengowski) and a rival, Paul (Michael Post). After a series of adventures, he is tempted to stay in the grown-up world, but eventually yearns to go home and be “little Josh” again. Will he? What do you think?

Trimble is appealing as Little Josh and Craig Hutchings a strong presence as Big Josh.  Other standouts are Rogina as MacMillan, Delengowski as Susan, Hopkins as Billy, and DeWitt and DJ Hedgepath as Josh’s parents. The cast did a fine job with the numerous scenery moves. The dancing is lively, the cleverest number being “Fun”, performed by Big Josh and MacMillan on fake piano keys. Director Glen Funkhouser keeps the action moving at a lively pace.

BIG, THE MUSICAL is ideal holiday family entertainment.

Book by John Weidman
Music by David Shine
Lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr.
Directed by Glen Funkhouser
November 29-December 15, 2012
Haddonfield Plays and Players
957 E. Atlantic Avenue
Haddonfield, NJ 08033
(856) 429-8139

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Mark December 17, 2012 - 11:01 am

Would love to see more of a review in these “reviews” and not just plot summary.

Patricia Bradford
Patricia Bradford December 17, 2012 - 11:58 am

Thanks for the “review” of the review, Mark! Perhaps you’d consider lending your talents to our staff of volunteers and decide to come on board as a “reviewer” for STAGE this coming season! We surely need more volunteers in NJ! Thanks!

Mark December 18, 2012 - 8:18 am

Hi Patricia, thanks for reaching out. I’d love the opportunity to join STAGE as a reviewer. Please let me know next steps. Happy Holidays!

Patricia Bradford
Patricia Bradford December 21, 2012 - 3:34 pm

Hi Mark – I’ve sent an email to you so we can discuss offline – thanks! – pb


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