Famed Broadway Director Leads First Stage's BIG FISH

Jeff Whiting
With the opening of our final show of the season, 
BIG FISH, May 8-31, 2015, First Stage is thrilled to welcome back Jeff Whiting as the Director and Choreographer of the show.  Jeff comes to us from New York City where he was the Associate Director and Choreographer of the Broadway production of BIG FISH. His resume is long and his talent is vast, having worked on numerous theater productions throughout the country including THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, and James Taylor in Concert at Carnegie Hall. Next up, Jeff will be directing the national touring company of Tony-nominated BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. This is his second affiliation with First Stage, having been the choreographer for BIG, THE MUSICAL in 2012.  

“After working on the Broadway production of BIG FISH, I’m so thrilled to have the chance to bring this touching story to life for audiences in Milwaukee,” said Whiting. “It’s a story full of life, heart and, of course, fantastical big fish tales that will leave you honoring the storytellers in each of our lives – for it is the dreamers who inspire all of us."

The cast and crew is enjoying the opportunity work with Jeff in Milwaukee. Several First Stage Young Company students have had the opportunity to attend his Open Jar Institute in Manhattan, a week-long, Broadway-integrated actor training workshop for high school students.

First Stage Company Manager and Music Director of BIG FISH Jeff Schaetzke shared his excitement about the show. “We are doing a Broadway musical in 75 minutes and not skimping on anything. Our production team is truly moving mountains, using their expertise, skill, energy, and every resource they have to create over 20 settings and countless costumes and quick changes [Costume Designer Kärin Kopischke created over 170 designs for BIG FISH],” said Schaetzke.  “Our young performers are top notch, sound wonderful and are acting as adults and children. Their task is enormous. The adult actors on this show [the show features Milwaukee stage veterans Jonathan Gillard Daly as Edward; Niffer Clarke as Sandra; Nate Lewellyn as Will and Paul Helm as Mayor/Dr. Bennett, to name just a few] are making us laugh and cry and it’s a reminder of what a moving piece this is,” he continued. Jeff went on to say that he expected BIG FISH to be the most beautiful musical in Milwaukee this theatre season.

First Stage is thrilled to present the new Theatre for Young Audiences adaptation of this larger-than-life Broadway musical! We hope to see you at the theater for BIG FISH, a show that will inspire us all to dream bigger! For ticket information for BIG FISH, please visit www.FirstStage.org/BigFish.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone will read this but I want to say I saw Big Fish today and it was outstanding. It was very touching--a few tears escaped. I am saddened in that I felt it was suited more for adults and many adults feel that 1st Stage is children's theater and therefore may not consider it w/o a child to accompany them and that is too bad. It had many great messages that probably went over the heads of the children in the audience--it was a school performance. One other thing--considering school children do see it--I felt the detail about the premarital pregnancy could have been eliminated--it really added nothing to the story and Jo's pregnancy could still have occurred after the marriage. Edward could have still done the "toast" that Will asked him not to do and the point would have still been made that he did something his son asked him not to do. I may sound like a prude but the audience was made up of elementary age children, so I felt that was a little inappropriate. Other than that I have nothing but praise and hope that many will feel your seats for a great production!

First Stage said...

Thank you for your feedback, and we’re glad to hear that you enjoyed the show overall!

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