Highlands High School's performance of Big: The Musical was a vibrant, catchy show that told the story of a 12-year-old boy who wishes to be "big." And his wish comes true.
As Little Josh Baskin, Bobby Dunhamdelighted the audience with his portrayal of child innocence. His terrific voice, as well as his natural stage presence, worked well. Especially noteworthy was Shannon Bailey as Mrs. Baskin. She had commanding vocal ability, and presented an excellent portrayal of a worried mother. Josh's interaction with his comical friend Billy Kopecki (Corwyn Wyatt) vividly portrayed the mannerisms of children.
Once Josh's wish to be big came true, he evolved into Big Josh, played by Nick Smith. Smith's strong voice carried the show, as well as his excellent ability to remain a pre-teen boy in a bigger body. He interacted well with the other "adult" characters, especially his 33-year-old lover, Susan Lawrence (Ravin Orrender). Their relationship on stage was plausible. The adult/child interaction was best portrayed in "Do You Want to Play Games?" a comedic song between Josh and Susan. Orrender graced the stage with her singing and dancing abilities, particularly in "Dancing All The Time."
Melissa Chinn as "the Future Mrs. Judy Hicks" kept the crowd amused by her dreamy waltzing in "Cross the Line" and her glazed-over expression throughout the entire show. The president of MacMillan Toys (Joey McGill), who offered Big Josh a job, was entertaining in his naivete toward Josh's childish tendencies.
Despite a few problems with sound, the actors did a good job of making themselves heard over the booming orchestra.
Overall, Highlands' Big was a fun-filled show that forced the audience to think about the saying: "Be careful what you wish for."
Julie Matthews, Beechwood High School
Shannon Bailey played the role of Josh's mother with maturity, singing her two songs, "Say Good Morning to Mom" and "Stop, Time" with a powerful voice.
Allison Grubbs, Walnut Hills High School
Ravin Orrender, aided by a warm voice and endearing personality, created a dynamic character that changed from bitter to joyful as she discovered her inner child through her relationship with Josh.
Andrew Wehling, Sycamore High School
The lighting aided in the enjoyment of the song "Stars," with nice twilight effects and stars projected on the backdrop.
Rebecca Whatley,St. Ursula Academy
A strong supporting cast helped the show go smoothly. Bobby Dunham displayed a surprisingly strong voice, and Corwyn Wyatt brought the house down with an unexpected rap number in "It's Time."
Dara Lind,Sycamore High School
Cappies performances and reviews will resume in January.
The Greater Cincinnati chapter of Cappies, or Critics and Awards Program, is in its third season, with students writing reviews of other high schools' productions. Today, Highlands High School's Big: The Musical. For more information, see www.cappies.com
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