Friday, April 5, through Sunday, April 14
The Spotlight Theatre, 1800 Seventh Avenue, Moline IL
One of the most successful and adored film comedies of the 1980s will be given new musical-comedy stage life at the Spotlight Theatre April 5 through 14 when the Moline venue presents the area debut of Big: The Musical, a Tony-nominated charmer by the composing team of David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr. that DC Theatre Scene said “is filled with zany moments along with memorable musical numbers.”
Based on the Oscar-nominated 1988 delight that turned Tom Hanks into a superstar, Big: The Musical finds its 12-year protagonist Josh Baskin sick of being an awkward kid. One night at a carnival, he makes a wish to the magical Zoltar machine to become “big” – and to his shock, his wish is granted. After an understandably awkward beginning, Josh, accompanied by his best friend Billy, is forced to do adult things such as getting a job and a girlfriend, and through the course of the show, he discovers that there's much more to being an adult than he bargained for, learning that we must all grow up at our own pace and in our own time. Complete a giant floor piano (familiar from the movie's unforgettable “Chopsticks” duet) and stand-out roles for adults and children alike, Big: The Musical is a high-energy treat that earned five 1996 Tony nominations. The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, raved, “In Maltby's deceptively breezy lyrics, the characters have more freedom to explore their inner states than the movie allowed, and Shire's upbeat pop melodies capture the story's romanticism, from overblown adolescent traumas to the rediscovery of wonder in the most jaded hearts.”
Directing Big: The Musical in its local premiere is Spotlight Theatre co-founder and -owner Brent Tubbs, who previously helmed A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder and All the Great Books (Abridged) for his venue, and co-directed the company's fall hit The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Josh Baskin is portrayed by Ian Sodawasser (Quad City Music Guild's Annie) as as adult and Brennan Hampton (the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Pinocchio) as a 12-year-old, Croix Baker enacts the role of Billy, and Josh's parents are played by Brandon Gale and Brent Tubbs' wife and Hunchback co-director Sara Tubbs. Nearly two dozen additional talents, meanwhile, fill out the show's ensemble: Molly Ahern, Kaitlyn Baker, Jess Fah, Julie Hummel, Becca Johnson, Doug Johnson, Bella Kuta, Wrigley Mancha, Gary Mayfield, Grace Meier, Gage McCalester, Natalie Nwatchock, Sara Shaw, Yvonne Siddique, Elizabeth Stemlar, Jack Stremlow, Haley Teel, Kelly Thompson, Taylor Tubbs, Joe Urbaitis, and Joe Wren.
Big: The Musical runs at the Spotlight Theatre April 5 through 14, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $20, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)912-7647 or visiting TheSpotlightTheatreQC.com.