MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – The notable youth theater, Peter Quince Performing Company, will present the musical “Big Fish” this week at Capitol Civic Centre. Info here.
Performances are at 7 p.m. Aug. 11-13 and 3 p.m. Aug. 14.
Members are limited to ages 12 to 22. Despite the age cutoff, the company is in its 54th season.
The not-for-profit organization was founded in 1969 by Reed Humphrey and Emily Mueller to provide an opportunity for young people in the Manitowoc County area to produce, on their own, a full-scale theatrical production over the summer months.
It would be hard to find such a lasting company anywhere else.
The company is named for a character in the William Shakespeare comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Snapshot of “Big Fish:” A giant, a witch and a wacky circus ringleader are part of the story of mythic proportions. As a father tries to impart fantastical wisdom on his not-so-receiving son, he harkens back to what he does best: telling stories. The journey incorporates real-life tragedy, music and a message.
The book is by John August, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, based on Daniel Wallace’s book and the Golden Globe-nominated movie written by John August.
The characters and players: Edward Bloom (Henry Rotter), Will Bloom (May Heili), Sandra Bloom (Addison Fowler), Josephine Bloom (India Anclam), Amos (Logan Lopez), Witch (Morgan Stock), Karl (Nicklas Michaelson), Jenny (Lila Lor), Don Price (Rudy Rotter), Zachy Price (Max Schoepp), Young Will (Reyana Jansen) and Ensemble: Alex Kaminski, Amelia Fowler, Ash Stokes, Cody Smogoleski, Ethan Stokes, Grace Knutson, Ian Onesti, Jack Hyde, Mackenzie Stokes, Marley Hansen, Maya Gadzinski, Nathan Luckow, Noah Verhasselt, Sophia Kraynek, Talise Meisner, Timothy Wilson, Vanessa Stalvey and Violet Siegfried.
Leading the company are Henry Rotter and Noah Verhasselt, presidents; Gabrielle Damian and Kielle Hoeppner, vice presidents; Nick Michaelson and Rudolf Rotter, secretary/treasurers; Samantha Krueger and Red Moser, public relations; and Miochaelyn Akgulian and Kelsey Zdziarski, producers.
The show goes back and forth in time in the life of a family whose father is one for tall tales. Now, as cancer takes a grip, his son aches to know where in those tales’ truth lies.
The story is complicated story, especially because the father tells of a witch who foretold his dying day, a giant he befriended and how the love of his life smote him during a circus act.
In dance sequences, the dancers represent fanciful figures.
Edward Bloom, the father, is given to exaggerate. In the story, Edward is mostly an absentee father because he is a traveling salesman. To his son, Will, much about him is blank. The pinnacle of their division comes in the earnest duet, “This River Between Us.”
In the score are two inspirational songs. “Be the Hero” is kind of Edward’s view on his flights of fancy in yarn-making. “Start Over” is Edward’s pull-up-your-bootstraps advice to his hometown that plays a role in a story Edward has tucked away from his son.
As Edward’s caring, faitfhul wife, Sandra, sings the affirming “Magic in the Man.”
Characters woven into Edward’s wandering life include his perplexed son as a boy and man, his bride, an old flame, the witch, the giant, the circus owner and his nemesis.
An orchestra plays the perky and sometimes tender score.