Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin (third from left) in a scene from "Big Fish," the stage musical having its world premiere in Chicago. | Paul Kolnik photo
Updated: April 4, 2013 9:12PM
In an email interview Kate Baldwin talked about taking the “Big Fish” bait:
Q. Were either of your parents in sales of any kind?
A: My parents weren’t, but my grandfather was. He sold a ceramic device that fit on top of open hearth furnaces that were used for melting steel. The device was called a Hot Top, which actually sounds like a Susan Stroman dance number to me. He loved talking with the men on the floor and the men in the office. He could navigate between the two worlds and loved to meet and connect with people.
Q. Did your grandfather have a feel for the outrageous?
A: I wouldn’t call any of my grandfather’s stories outrageous. I think he was a master embellisher. He exaggerated the events in his stories and delighted in the telling of them. And he made ordinary things like tipping a waitress, or taking a long car ride, or even crossing the street into games. He held our attention by creating ceremonies with songs, hats and drinks. And he always laughed with you, never at you.
Q. Have you known a man like Edward Bloom? What makes him tick?
A: You can’t have a career in theater without encountering a few Edward Blooms. I think they are fueled by a thirst for adventure, an unshakable self-confidence and a heart full of love.
Q. What is most important to keep in mind when working on a new musical?
A: Rest when you can. Love the process. Realize that you’re living your dream, and be grateful for the opportunity.
Q. Is there something special about the way Stroman works?
A: Stroman exudes a sense of profound strength. She’s steering the boat, and even if the waters seem rocky, she knows how to sail smoothly. You never see her sweat. I want to be her when I grow up. — Hedy Weiss