'Big' production to explore process of growing up

imageAudience members of all ages should be able to identify with the heart-warming tale of 13-year-old Josh Baskin who just wants to grow up and be “big” in the upcoming theatre production of “Big: The Musical,” director Jonel Langenfeld-Rial said.

The coming-of-age tale will open Feb. 25 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. It is based on the 1988 hit movie, starring Tom Hanks, that follows the story of a frustrated Josh and his friend Billy who wish upon a carnival fortune-teller.

“This is a great show because it reminds us of our own childhood experiences and the popular wish many children have to ‘be big,’” said Langenfeld-Rial, an assistant professor of theatre at SUNY Oswego. “When we hit a certain age, say 13 or 14, and the hormones start to kick in, we suddenly hate all rules, hate parental attention and input, and just long to ‘do what we want to do.’”

After waking up as a 30-year-old man, Josh heads to Manhattan where he must learn to cope with the freedom and pitfalls of being a grown-up. Along the way, he lands a job as an idea man at MacMillan Toy Co. and develops a crush on his co-worker Susan.

In his 1996 New York Times review of the Broadway production, Vincent Canby described it as “a show for kids who have outgrown fairy tales but aren’t yet so jaded that a stroll through F.A.O. Schwarz doesn’t aggravate their itch to acquire, which of course is people of all ages.”

Langenfeld-Rial also has viewers of all ages in mind for this staging. “I want the audience to sit back and realize that rushing childhood can be a big mistake. That there is plenty of time to be ‘big,’” she said. “I hope the adults will go away recalling the fond memories of childhood and a desire to rekindle that youthful acceptance of, and innocent appreciation for, just having fun.”

The Oswego production of “Big” is set in 1995 when Disney’s animated hit “Toy Story” flooded theatres, the network television premiere of “Friends” aired and Mariah Carey and Boys II Men topped the charts with their duet “One Sweet Day.”

A preview performance of “Big: The Musical” will be staged at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, with all seats available for $6.

The show will continue with 8 p.m. curtain times Feb. 25 and 26 and March 4 and 5. A Sunday matinee March 6 will begin at 2 p.m. 

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students. A family package of two adults and two students is priced at $42.

For information and reservations, call the Tyler Hall box office at 312-2141.

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PHOTO CAPTION: ‘Big’ plans—When 13-year-old Josh Baskin wakes up in the body of a 30-year-old, he sets out for adventure in New York City in the upcoming SUNY Oswego production of “Big: The Musical.” Ryan Powers (left) plays the grown-up Josh while Brian Heyman portrays his best friend Billy. The production is based on the 1988 hit movie that starred Tom Hanks. For information and reservations, call the Tyler Hall box office at 312-2141.

(Posted: Feb 03, 2005)