BIG: The Musical @ The York Theatre – Mufti Series, New York, NY

Book by John Weidman, Music by David Shire, Lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr.

Artistic Director: Jim Morgan, Lighting Design: by KJ Hardy, Production Stage Manager: Meg Friedman.

Production Photos by

(Reviews below photos.)

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BIG Scores Big at the York
The laughs were long, hard and genuine guffaws after most jokes. The applause was strong and hard after all songs. The opening night crowd couldn’t contain its enthusiasm — and had no desire to. And the show was BIG. …The musical version of the famous movie is being redeemed by the York Theatre Company, director Michael Unger, musical director Eric Svejcar and a most talented cast. Now if you only know the show from its original cast album – or from its original production – you don’t know the BIG that Weidman, Maltby and composer David Shire revamped since its non-Tony-winning run. The revised script with a bevy of new songs is in evidence at the York as well. …Get thee to the York this weekend. Catch a plane, catch a breeze; on your hands, on your knees, swim or fly, only please come back to it. If all else fails, go to a carnival, find Zoltar, and firmly state “I wish I could be in New York City this weekend to see BIG.” (Peter Filichia – MTI Blog)

…with a “less is more” approach, this production reveals “Big” to be… a pretty wonderful and enjoyable musical. John Tartaglia, the original male lead of “Avenue Q,” was an inspired casting choice for Josh, bringing a kiddie-friendly sense of animation and a tender-hearted side. Kerry Butler, best known for her comic abilities, is perfectly sweet as the adult female disarmed by Josh’s kindness and innocence. In an unexpected twist, Richard Maltby Jr., the show’s lyricist, has stepped into the role of toy exec MacMillan…. A rare glimpse into a musical that deserved a bigger chance at success. – (AM New York)

Kudos to Director Michel Unger who fills this rendition with bright, early-teen specifics, moves his cast with pleasing visual variety, and handles pivotal moments with finesse. From mom’s moving ballad “Stop, Time” (well played/sung by Janet Metz in Act II) to the splendid “Fun!” (A high spot) numbers are nourished by his invention. A sensitive awareness of both the piece’s nostalgia  and the difference between unrequited and impossible love as described in his program notes, is apparent throughout. (Woman Around Town.com)

Can you recall  what it’s like to have spontaneous, uncalculated fun? If  you’ve forgotten, then the perfect reminder awaits at the  York theater, where a modest, but winning production of John Weidman, Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire’s Big, the Musical is underway. Remember the big piano dance mat scene at FAO Schwarz? It’s in here.  How about the scene when Josh eats caviar for the first time?  Or the “sleep-over” with Susan? That’s in here too. All of the fun moments that made the movie such a hit are  included in this stage version, along with some bouncy, memorable tunes that you’ll be humming on your way to the exit. It doesn’t hurt that director Michael Unger has found an engaging and thoroughly talented cast to pull it off. Tartaglia and Butler spark excellent chemistry  while Wall and Shinder bring tender authenticity and humor in their astute portrayals of childhood friendship. It is a pure joy to see the show’s lyricist, Richard Maltby. Jr. assume the role of George MacMillan. There is much to love in this show as it provides a wonderfully sweet look at the minor pains of childhood and the silly pretentions of adulthood.  You’d better hurry, though. Much like our cherished youth, the show vanishes after Oct. 19th. (Manhattan Digest)

Big was brilliantly directed by Michael Unger… Kerry Butler was excellent playing the toy company executive who falls in love with this charming yet unsophisticated young man after being involved with complicated and self centered men. The 11 year old Hayden Wall was exceptional as the young Josh as was Jeremy Todd Shinder as his smart talking best friend Billy who tries to help get back to his childhood. The surprise of the evening was the substitution for the part of George MacMillan, the president of the toy company. The day before opening, the actor scheduled to play the part had to drop out and Richard Maltby, Jr. jumped in and played the part to perfection. In the program, Mr. Maltby is quoted as saying that “while the musical is called Big, the emotions involved are personal and intimate and human.” This point was evident when Janet Metz as Josh’s mother, sings the moving number “Stop, Time” wishing, as all parents do, that precious times can come to a standstill and savored. These presentations are staged readings with script in hand and not fully realized productions, but without all the theatrical trappings, you get to see the essence of the show. The brave performers only get less than a week to rehearse before show time and create magic in that short time. Big will be playing Wednesday, Oct 15 through Sunday Oct. 19th. (theatrepizzazz.com)