Saturday, September 29, 2007

U of A Wildcat Reviews The Big Voice

The University of Arizona Wildcat reviews The Big Voice.

'The Big Voice' speaks volumes to audiences

By: Elizabeth M. Holder


It's amazing how you can find someone, that significant other, in the most unlikely of circumstances. Who could have known that a Roman Catholic boy from Brooklyn and a Baptist boy from Arkansas would one day meet on a cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean?

Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin never anticipated their chance meeting, their eventual life partnership and the creation of "The Big Voice: God or Merman?" But now they definitely have an inspirational life together and an astounding show that everyone should see in Tucson while they still can.

Where some two-person shows may feature one actor and use the other to play a supporting role, this musical equally showcases two talented actors and their unique life experiences.

Brochu and Schalchlin effortlessly wear the hats of many other minor characters in the lives of the two men, from childhood through adulthood. They began their lives wanting to help others by being spiritual leaders, a priest and a preacher. But they discovered their true calling was to serve others through the arts.

Where mainstream religion chastises people who are different, they are able to speak to those same people and build newfound hope. Growing up, they thought they would save souls from behind the pulpit. Now, they know they are saving lives in the theater through the shows they produce.

Eventually, the audience learns that their lives are forever changed when Schalchlin is diagnosed with a serious illness. Their experience proves that no matter how much despair and turmoil you may receive from adverse circumstances, there is always a way to gain empowerment through it.

Longingly waiting for the "Big Voice" to speak to them, only the passing of time for these gentlemen shows if that greatly anticipated heavenly revelation or divine moment comes from God, Ethel Merman or both. The duo's powerful acting, singing and stage presence fill the small Invisible Theatre effortlessly. It is hard to believe even two exceptionally talented men could have written this humorous, evocative and moving show on top of their already stunning merits.

A comedic musical, Brochu and Schalchlin demonstrate great skill while executing their physical and verbal humor that keeps the audience in stitches. The audience could be heard continuously laughing out loud, and, on more than one occasion, enthusiastic applause filled the house.

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