Big Fish

Original Broadway Cast, 2014 (Broadway Records) 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) Big Fish arrived on Broadway in 2013 with a score by Andrew Lippa and was imaginatively directed by Susan Stroman, but it did not last more than 100 performances. Fortunately, this recording has preserved much of the show’s charm. A strong cast includes Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz as Edward Bloom, a yarn-spinning, traveling salesman who dazzles his son, Will (a pleasant-sounding Bobby Steggart), with stories of adventure that stretch the imagination. These oftentimes unbelievable tales strain Edward’s relationship with his son and frustrate his long-suffering wife, played by Kate Baldwin. Butz sounds fantastic throughout; he’s youthful and charming in the opening number, “Be the Hero,” and inspiring in his solo, “Fight the Dragons.” Baldwin’s endearing soprano is much appreciated in softer moments such as the lovely “ I Don’t Need A Roof.”  The score culminates with the highly emotional song “How It Ends,” a reconciliation for father and son. Unfortunately, between the effective songs for the main characters, there are several production numbers featuring other characters that do not come across nearly as well on the recording and may serve to make this album a slightly frustrating, but certainly not a profitless, listening experience.  — Forrest Hutchinson