First Year Players deliver impressive and emotional rendition of 'Big Fish'

For the student organization's 25th anniversary, 'Big Fish' captivated the audience with its beautiful story.

Syracuse University’s First Year Players put on their first show of the year with Big Fish, an adaptation of Daniel Wallace’s 1998 coming-of-age novel. Opening night was held in Goldstein Auditorium and drew a massive crowd.

Big Fish tells the story of William Bloom, a frustrated son who tries to determine the truth from his father Edward’s eccentric stories. As his father grows old, William revisits all the tales he was told as a child and tries to use them to piece together who Edward really is. William and Edward, played by Will DeVito and Jason Kimmel respectively, are bolstered by a variety of figures from Edward’s past, such as his wife Sandra (Jordan Reynoso) and his old friends Amos Callaway (Daniel Preciado) and Karl (Gabriel Milluzzo).

The musical numbers had the audience alternatively laughing and weeping with their variety. The rousing “Daffodils”, performed before the end of the first act by Kimmel and Reynoso, drew wild cheers from the audience for the spectacular visual effects that accompanied the emotionally charged number. Milluzzo’s performance as Karl also drew laughter and applause, from his excellent vocals to his creative costume design. But the largest round of applause came as DeVito and the company led a stirring reprise of “Be The Hero” in the play’s ending scene. The cast members were greeted with a standing ovation shortly afterwards.

First Year Players has been around since 1992. The organization is unique in that it is aimed at non-drama majors and students without much theatrical experience. The organization uses a mentor system similar to the big/little system employed by fraternities and sororities. Senior Kelly Egan, one of the co-producers of the show, was full of praise for the cast and crew.

“These kids come in, so fresh-faced to college, and they get into this org and we become a huge family. To see them grow from these nervous kids on day one to these shining stars that were just on that stage is my favorite part of FYP,” Egan said.

For many freshmen, FYP acts as a family to them, full of like-minded peers ready to perform. Daniel Preciado, who plays the ringmaster Amos Callaway, echoed that sentiment.

“Last semester, I didn’t really have a core group. But when I joined FYP, I got a whole family. We had a special night when I first joined, and that’s when I knew this was the place.”

Preciado, who has acted in adaptations of In The Heights and Grease before joining FYP, says that while some parts of Big Fish were different from his other shows, the feeling of being surrounded by theater lovers and the excitement of creating a show didn’t change.

“Everyone loves the organization so much, so we juggle the musical and classwork together. The sense of family never really goes away even when we leave the stage,” he added.

After the show’s conclusion, the organization will gear up for next year’s show.

“We’ll get a new producer and a new exec board and a new show,” said Egan. “Then come next semester, we’ll do it all again!”

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