‘Big Fish’ swims ashore in McDonough this week

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Henry Players President Adriana Beckner said the group’s next play carries a positive message for those who come to see it.

“I’m not going to say there aren’t any tears in it,” she said. “But it’s a sense of happiness that I’m hoping they walk out of there with. I just want to share some positivity with the world.”

Henry Players cast members Stephanie Davis Garzoli playing Josephine Bloom and Noah Kirby playing William Bloom in their new production of “Big Fish.” Special photo

Beckner is a co-director for the Players’ production of “Big Fish (12 Chairs Version).” The musical takes the stage April 20-23 and 27-30 at the Hood Street Art Center, 136 Hood St., in McDonough. Tickets are $18 for adults, and $15 for seniors age 60 and older and children age 12 and under.

The production is based on a novel by Daniel Wallace and a film directed by Tim Burton. Beckner described it as the “family-friendly” tale of a traveling salesman named Edward Bloom, who “lives life to the fullest.”

“He tells these larger-than-life stories to the people around him, which includes his wife and his son,” explained Beckner. As his son gets older and is about to have a child of his own, he decides he wants to know his father better and not just the Big Fish stories.”

During the PG-rated play, audience members will encounter characters Bloom, played by Chris Gansel, has met throughout his life, including a giant, a witch and a mermaid. Beckner noted that one message the musical helps to convey is reflected in its opening number, titled “Be the Hero.”

“You should be the hero of your own story and be a part of that life, to enjoy every moment,” said Beckner.

Beckner credited her other co-director, Kay Bohan, for her expertise in putting a play together.

“I’m the chaos, and she’s organized, so between the two of us, we have organized chaos,” quipped Beckner. “She has been on stage a multitude of times. It really helps to have someone who understands what it is to be an actor as well. And it always helps to have someone to lean on.”

“Big Fish” marks Bohan’s fourth time in a directorial role. She said she is looking forward to bringing the story to the stage for local audiences.

“I’ve seen the Broadway show, and I just love the story,” said Bohan. “You laugh, you cry ... it’s kind of got a lot of everything in it. I think it’s going to be a crowd-pleaser.”