On June 26, the Savannah Summer Theatre Institute (SSTI) is coming to Hilton Head for the very first time to debut “Big Fish the Musical” in the Seahawk Cultural Center at Hilton Head High School. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on June 26 and performances continue on June 27 and 30, and July 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m., with afternoon matinees at 2 p.m. on June 28 and July 5.
“It’s a fun musical, it was on Broadway back in 2013, so it’s pretty new,” said Ben Wolfe, the show director and founder of SSTI. “We’re really excited to get to do it.”
The plot of “Big Fish the Musical,” which is based off of the 1998 critically acclaimed book by Daniel Wallace, revolves around the relationship between Edward Bloom, a former traveling salesman now facing his impending mortality, and his adult son who, prompted by his wife’s pregnancy, looks to find the truth behind his father’s tall tales. The play itself switches back and forth between the present, with Edward and his son, and Edward’s past life as a traveling salesman.
Students from all over the United States, as well as one student from Saudi Arabia, will come to SSTI for the summer to practice and put on the shows.
“It’s a destination preforming arts program,” said Wolfe.
STTI is a theatrical performance program aimed at giving rising high school students the opportunity to work in a real world professional theatrical production. Each of the students are cast from an online audition and have all of the lines and music memorized, ready to perform by the time they arrive at the institute. The program itself involves 14 days of intense eight-hour rehearsals.
During the summer, they have three different rotations and three different shows, each with different students and staff. This year there will be two musicals, “Big Fish” on Hilton Head and “Little Shop of Horrors” in Savannah, performed by high school students and one, “Always…Patsy Cline,” with an adult cast, which is being done as a benefit for SSTI.
SSTI’s goal with their high school program is to show students what a career in the preforming arts is like and teach them how to be professional.
“All of them were ‘big fish’ in their pond at school,” said Wolfe. “You know the ones, they’re the dedicated drama kids and then they get here and they’re like, ‘Oh, okay. There are other people and they are better. How am I going to respond to that?’”
But that’s not all that SSTI does. They’re able to share these students’ talent with audiences, now not only in Savannah but all across Hilton Head Island.
Tickets for Big Fish are available at the door, online at BigFishHHI.com or by calling (843) 624-8845.