Avon Players bring ‘Heart and Soul’ to the stage with ‘Big, The Musical’

Life is much more than child’s play in this fantasy comedy

Delighted audience members of all sizes will relive the era of “Cosby sweaters” and acid washed jeans while protagonist Josh Baskin lives out every kid’s fantasy of instant adulthood as Avon Players presents Big, The Musical, based on the on the classic 1987 Tom Hanks motion picture fantasy. Big, The Musical runs September 5-20.

Left to right: Phil Zott as "Josh Baskin" and Andy Langlands as "George MacMillan" rehearse the iconic "big" piano scene from the Avon Players production of "Big: The Musical."

Left to right: Phil Zott as “Josh Baskin” and Andy Langlands as “George MacMillan” rehearse the iconic “big” piano scene from the Avon Players production of “Big: The Musical.”

When frustrated adolescent Josh Baskin (Sonny Pacitto) makes a wish to be “big” on a carnival machine and wakes up the next morning a 30-year-old man (Phil Zott), he is instantly forced to navigate such adult issues as work, dating, and living on his own.  Aided by his best friend Billy (Kyle Mason), Josh bides his time in New York City until the spell can be reversed, but when he finds sudden success in his job at a toy company and gains the romantic attention of co-worker Susan (Lori Smith), Josh must choose between the childhood he wished away and the life he may not be ready for.  A witty, moving, insightful story and an energetic, heartfelt, contemporary score make the vibrant, funny and touching Big, The Musical a perfect show those who grew up with the film and next-generation audience members alike.

From the magical Zoltar carnival machine, to the iconic duet on a massive piano, Avon’s production captures favorite moments from the film all set to lively song and dance.  Director John (JD) Deierlein states “Big is a wonderfully charming family-friendly musical that is a modern story with the flavor of the classic musicals that everyone knows and loves.”

In conjunction with the production, which prominently features many toys and celebrates the child in everyone, Avon Players is sponsoring a toy drive for Toys for Tots through the run of the show.  Patrons wanting to participate may bring new, unwrapped toys to the theatre and know they are doing good for the community while having a good time.

Tickets for all shows are $20 ($18 on Sundays for students and Seniors). Call 248.608.9077 for tickets or order online at www.avonplayers.org. Group rates are available by calling the box office.  Season tickets are still available and yield discounts of up to 24% per ticket.  “Like” Avon Players Theatre on Facebook for special offers on tickets.  Visa and MasterCard are accepted. All seats are reserved.  Show dates and times follow:

Friday, Sept. 5             8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 6        8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 7          2:00 p.m.

Friday, Sept . 12          8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 13      8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 14        2:00 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19           8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20      8:00 p.m.

Big, The Musical Cast and Production Staff List

Auburn Hills

Matt Croft (Music Director)


Robin Carides (“Ensemble”)

Clinton Twp

Andy Langlands (“George MacMillan/Zoltar”)


Tina Castiglione (Assistant Producer)


Sonny Pacitto (“Young Josh/Ensemble”)

Phil Zott (“Adult Josh”)


Cole Jones (“Derek/Ensemble”)

Mark Misch (“Ensemble”)

Alyssa Moore (“Ensemble”)

Melissa Nally (“Ensemble”)

Rochester Hills

John (JD) Deierlein (Director)

Peggy Deierlein (Producer)

Ryan Donnellon (“Paul Seymour/Ensemble”)

Marlaina Jurco (“Ensemble”)

Collin Kilpatrick (“Ensemble”)

Kyle Mason (“Billy”)

Tina Peterson (Costumer)

Juliana Tanner (“Ensemble”)

Royal Oak

Maritone Harte (Choreographer)

Shelby Township

Mark Palmer (“Ensemble”)

Emily Polet-Monterosso (“Ensemble”)

Lori Smith (“Susan Lawrence/Ensemble”)

John Tonkovich (“Ensemble”)


Jordan Held (“Cynthia Benson”/”Ensemble”)

Kris Held (“Mrs. Baskin”/”Ensemble”)

Paul Held (“Ensemble”)

Shane Held (“Ensemble”)


Jack Sanitate (“Ensemble”)

All the preceding information was provided via press release from Avon Players.

Founded in 1947, Avon Players is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit community theatre located along the winding banks of Stoney Creek in the quaint Historic District of Rochester Hills, only about two miles from the heart of downtown Rochester. Avon Players has been performing shows in its unique A-frame theater since 1965. With ticket prices set at a fraction of those at professional theatre (plus free parking and concessions on a donation basis) a family of four can experience a sensational live theatrical event for about the cost of one ticket at a “downtown” venue.  And for regular theatre-goers, an affordable outing can be an even better bargain by taking advantage of Avon Players’ season ticket packages, which yield discounts of up to 24% per ticket.  Additionally, season ticket holders enjoy priority seating selection and voting privileges in Avon’s annual “Stoney Awards.”  Additional information regarding tickets and productions is available by calling the Avon Players box office at 248.608.9077 or by visiting the website: www.avonplayers.org.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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