This week’s Tony performance is Big: The Musical, one of Broadway’s most notorious flops.
Big was based on the hit 1988 Tom Hanks film of the same name and was expected to be a huge hit in the 1995/1996 Broadway season. Featuring direction by Mike Ockrent, music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., and choreography by Susan Stroman, the show’s critical response was greatly divided. The production opened on April 28, 1996 and, although it was nominated for 5 Tony Awards (Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Book, Score, and Choreography), it failed to win any and close on October 13, 1996. The production is regarded as one of Broadway’s largest money-losers.
In a rare twist of fate, Big was drastically revised, re-written and re-scored and sent out on a tour in 1998. The touring production, directed by Eric D. Shaeffer, received high praise and is considered to have been a success.
The Tony performance of the number “Fun” re-creates an iconic scene from the movie: Josh Baskin, a teenager who’s been turned into an adult after making a wish at a carnival arcade game, charms MacMillan, the head of a toy company, and they dance on a giant piano in FAO Schwartz.