A Broadway musical bursting with heart and humour, based on a best-selling book and a Tim Burton film, and a contemporary coming-of-age song cycle about growth and self-discovery from Oscar, Grammy, Tony and Olivier Award-winning writers … the stage is set for another unmissable Edinburgh Festival Fringe run from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).
RCS returns to Edinburgh with two powerful productions – Big Fish and Edges – at the Assembly Rooms Music Hall from 4-27 August. And with a 10am start, a magical morning of the best new musical theatre awaits, from some of the industry’s brightest talents.
Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, Big Fish tells the story of Edward Bloom, a travelling salesman who lives life to its fullest … and then some! Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him—most of all, his devoted wife. But their son is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales.
Big Fish’s music and lyrics are by Andrew Lippa, the composer, lyricist, singer, actor, conductor and producer whose credits include the Tony-nominated Broadway musical The Addams Family and music for Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway play The Farnsworth Invention. His songs have been sung by everyone from Vanessa Williams and Kristin Chenoweth to Idina Menzel and Brooke Shields.
Edges is the first time that RCS has taken a song cycle to the Fringe – a musical told through a thematically linked collection of songs without a traditional plot or dialogue. It’s written by award-winning writing duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul who are best known for their work on La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman.
Focusing on four burgeoning adults asking classic coming-of-age questions, this charming, witty and honest examination of adulthood explores what happens when we are teetering on the edges of our lives.
Pasek and Paul’s songs City of Stars and Audition (The Fools Who Dream) from La La Land, co-written with Justin Hurwitz, were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, with City of Stars winning the Academy Award as well as the Golden Globe in the same category. The following year, in 2018, Pasek and Paul won their second Golden Globe for Best Original Song for This Is Me from The Greatest Showman, which was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
On Broadway, they composed the score for the six-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen, their original musical for which they received an Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award, and the Tony Award for Best Score. Work also includes Apple’s original live-action musical Spirited starring Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds and Octavia Spencer.
Jane Hensey, Head of Musical Theatre at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “We can’t wait to return to Edinburgh – this year is our 18th run with two heartfelt and compelling productions.
Big Fish and Edges evoke all the emotions – they’re funny, tender and full of feeling – and guaranteed to start a day at the Fringe on the perfect note.”
The Fringe is a unique element of the Masters Musical Theatre programme at RCS and offers an opportunity to perform to an international audience at one of the world’s biggest and best-loved arts festivals. With back-to-back shows, it also replicates the demands of the professional world.
Previous Fringe shows include the critically acclaimed Godspell, Little Women, Legally Blonde, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Atlantic: A Scottish Story, 9 to 5, Urinetown, Avenue Q, Jerry Springer the Opera and The Addams Family.
There are two pathways through MA Musical Theatre — Performance and Musical Directing — with students coming from all over the globe to study on the year-long programme, which culminates in the Fringe.
Graduates are working around the world in London’s West End, on Broadway and on international tours.