"You're never too old to be a kid" was the message of Fairfax High School's production of “Big: the Musical.” Based off the popular 1988 Tom Hanks' movie, Big: The Musical was adapted for the stage in 1996. The plot follows 12-year-old Josh Baskin (portrayed by Thomas Iodice as young Josh and Doug Klain as big Josh) who makes a wish on a Zoltar Speaks machine after being humiliated in front of his crush. He wishes that he was big and much to his surprise, he wakes up to find himself a grown adult and scares his mother (Caroline Silas). With the help of his best friend Billy (Matt Velasco), Josh finds a job at a failing toy company. The owner MacMillan (Zion Jang) takes a liking to Josh as does the marketing V.P. Susan (Molly Berry). Josh and Susan start a relationship and Josh must decide whether to go back to being a kid or stay big forever.
Klain's childlike attitude brought the iconic role to life as he played a kid in an adult's body. His strong vocals and onstage chemistry with the rest of the cast captured the hearts of the audience. Playing opposite of Klain was Molly Berry. Berry's powerful soprano voice and her noticeable change in character, going from all about business to having "fun" brought down the house. Other notable performances were: junior Matt Velasco who not only had shining solo moments but also had great onstage chemistry with Klain, Zion Jang whose comedic timing and iconic piano duet with Klain won over the audience, the strong soprano voice of Thomas Iodice and the quirky Miss Watson (played by Emily Dillard). The entire cast had constant energy throughout the show as well as great onstage relationships with one another. Notable performers in the ensemble were co-dance captains Lila Johnson and Katie Tomney.
The cast performed on movable, leveled sets that were brightly painted. At the apron of the stage, there were two large trampolines that members of the cast jumped on which was a fun touch to the set. The stage crew made the set changes quick and efficient so that they didn't disrupt the action. The props were not only time period but added to the scenes very nicely. The costumes were also very period and well done. A nice way to tell an adult from a child is all the kids wore a pair of different colored Converse sneakers and usually wore bright colors or patterns. The adults, aside from Josh all start out wearing dark shades such as black and grey but as the story progressed, some adults started to wear colors such as MacMillan and Susan to signify that Josh had changed them. Special effects included strobe lights and fog during the wishes and stars on the ceiling during the number "Stars." For the most part, the lighting was simple yet tasteful. Also, the marketing team did a great job of publicizing the musical as they trended in the Top-5 on Twitter in the D.C. Metropolitan Area and had a Live Radio Broadcast on D.C.'s 107.5.
From curtain to curtain, the entire show was "fun" to watch. The cast and crew had high, contagious energy and overall did an excellent job performing this iconic show. Big: The Musical had the audience fully engaged in the plot and the music. Despite some minor, uncontrollable issues with the sound, Fairfax High School's Big: The Musical was truly "the real thing."