Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Top Three Favorite Musicals: Big The Musical

Big the Musical: As the title states, it's a musical version of the movie Big. It came out in 1996, but did not fare well, only running for 193 performances. I discovered in in 1998, when I was in Musicon Ministries, a group that gathered high schoolers from all over CT, taught them a show, and then performed it at various churches around the state four weekends during the year. In the summer, however, we would go on the road for two weeks, performing at various churches different states. Since we spent a lot of time traveling on a bus, I always made sure to have a book or two on hand. Now, this particular summer, I had taken the book "Making it Big: the Diary of a Broadway Musical," which was all about the process that the musical Big went through as it was adapted and eventually flopped (and reading about how they were sponsored by FAO Schwartz reminded of how I had seen the merchandise two years earlier in the one store that's in CT, although I don't think it's there any more, and having no idea what it was for). Anyway, at one point during the trip, we got to go to a mall, and I suddenly had the songs from Pippin stuck in my head, so I decided to see if I could get a copy of the CD. The rack at the Sam Goody was so disorganized that I just started looking through all the CDs, and lo and behold, there was Big! Naturally, I bought it (and I still don't actually own Pippin, although I do take it out from the library every now and then), and listened to it continuously for the rest of the trip.
When I got back, I shared it with my younger sister, who also fell in love with it (my sisters both like musicals, but not on the same level as I do. Then again, my older sister was the one who really got into Les Mis, not me). About a year later I found out a town theater was putting on a production of Big, and so I bought tickets to it for her birthday. It was fun to see it, even though that production reinstated songs that had been dropped from the original production. Sometime in between getting back home and seeing the show I learned that the songs were written by David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr., who had earlier written the songs for a musical called Baby, which didn't surprise me at all, since I had also loved that cast album (and was quite annoyed to find out that my local library weeded it from their collection, especially since I found this out when I was trying to get it to add songs to a CD exchange I was in). And then, while I was in college, I found a CD of Starting Here, Starting Now, a revue of songs by the same guys which did a lot better than the musicals they tried to put the songs into in the first place. I wish that they had done more together, as I inevitably like their songs, but sadly, their shows (barring revues) did not seem to fair well. So there you have it.

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