Paul Kolnik
October 14, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT

Big Fish

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
Limited Release Date
12/25/03
Wide Release Date
01/09/04
performer
Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor, Helena Bonham Carter, Steve Buscemi, Billy Crudup, Danny DeVito, Jessica Lange, Alison Lohman, Matthew McGrory
director
Tim Burton
distributor
Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment
author
John August
Genre
Sci-fi, Drama

A nice small cornucopia of new shows this week, including the long-awaited musical arrival of Susan Stroman’s take on Tim Burton, Tony Danza takes on New Joi-sey, Julius Caesar gets an estrogen makeover, and Janis Joplin takes another little piece of our hearts now baby! (Click on the links below to read the full reviews):

Big Fish  Daniel Wallace’s acclaimed book (which turned into Burton’s 2003 weepie) becomes an all singin’, all dancin’ mega-musical starring two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz. Did senior editor Thom Geier think it swam? “Big Fish finds theatrically inventive ways to reel audiences into its central love story”, he says, adding much praise for its energetic leading man, “with his stocky build, short stature, and thinning hair, Butz is an unlikely leading man, but he has the loose-limbed energy and charisma of a young Dick Van Dyke”. EW grade: B+

Honeymoon in Vegas  Tony Danza returns to the stage in this musical comedy as a shady gambler who has fallen head over heels with a woman, and Chaplin‘s Rob McClure as the young man determined not to let him take said gal from him. Did it live up to the well-liked 1992 film version with Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker? Thom Geier certainly thought so: “director Gary Griffin’s guffaw-out-loud production, playing through Oct. 27 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., boasts an old-school showmanship and shtick-happy comic sensibility that recall the Sin City of the Brat Pack era.” EW grade: B+

Julius Caesar  Actress Harriet Walter and director Phyllida Lloyd (Mary Stuart) reunite for a female-centric take on the murderous Bard creation set in a women’s prison (that, sadly, has no traces of Pornstache or Officer Bennett). “As with many high-concept Shakespeare productions, Lloyd can stretch her gimmick to the breaking point”, says Thom Geier, but praises the audacity of the production overall, adding that  “this is a bracing approach to a familiar story”. EW grade: B+

A Night With Janis Joplin  After the long-running Off-Broadway hit Love, Janis several years ago, the unstoppable Janis Joplin returns in theatrical form, this time on Broadway with a full-length tale in her honor, belted out by the very game Mary Bridget Davies. Senior writer Melissa Maerz praised Ms Davies saying she’s “a genuine powerhouse” but takes issue with the the lack of detail in the production. “The raw ache in Davies’ phenomenal voice suggests that Joplin didn’t go out happily…but with such a shocking lack of context about Joplin’s life, [the show] feels like Davies is fronting an amazing tribute band, not a musical.” EW grade: C

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