This year’s homecoming musical is not only special because of its talented cast, but because it will be the first ever collegiate premier of the former Broadway show Big Fish.
With their connection with alumni from set designing, and performance, as well as first hand viewing from the Broadway show; the department is creating a brand new way to display the musical.
Among the four leads, Kaitlin Sacco, junior musical theater major from Houston, will be playing Josephine Bloom, a supporting role, in the show.
“We’re like the fifth people to ever play these rolls,” Sacco said. “It gives you a freedom you don’t normally get. There’s no other person to compare to, it’s scary because you don’t have any examples and you have to create a role in your head which is what actors dream of.”
Dawne Swearingen Meeks, director of Big Fish and associate professor and assistant chair of the department, jumped at the opportunity to perform the musical at ACU.
“When the rights became available, we just jumped at the possibility,” Meeks said.
Meek’s love of the show stems back to when she saw Lara Seibert perform in the musical in 2013.
“I had the ability to go see Lara Seibert and I was just so touched by the core of the story,” Meeks said.
When the opportunity to recreate the show presented itself, Meeks asked herself if it was doable on the collegiate level, and the answer was yes.
Connections with digital designer for Big Fish, Andrew Lazarow, and David Utley, ACU alum and original scenic designer, have provided a step up in the ability for the department to thoroughly perform the musical on a collegiate level.
“The set was so highly mechanized and way beyond our budget in terms of creation and ability,” Meeks said. “I felt like even if it was a bare stage the story would be able to speak.”
Lazarow and Utley will be able to create a physical set using multimedia to help augment the story and fully express the musical in the best way as its first collegiate level performance.