ADDISON – Addison native Marisa Boynton has acted everywhere from Chicago to a cruise ship on the open sea to London, but her most recent role is still a first for her.
Boynton plays Sandra Bloom, the wife of traveling salesman Edward Bloom who is known for his larger-than-life stories in the Jedlicka Performing Arts Center's production of "Big Fish."
"This is the first time I've played a mother on stage," Boynton said.
Luckily, she has three years experience as a real-life mother. Boynton's son, Henry, is almost 3, but in the musical, her character's son, Will Bloom, is a grown man who's about to become a parent himself.
While Boynton hasn't yet experienced what it's like to be the mother of an adult child, the musical and her everyday role as mom has gotten her thinking about it.
"It's nice to think about what that will be like as I get to experience those things," Boynton said.
The story is more about a father-son relationship, though. Will, on the verge of fatherhood, is determined to discover the truth behind his dad's terrific tales.
"It's a beautiful movie," said Boynton, who auditioned for the leading part because she was such a big fan of Tim Burton's 2003 film.
With plenty of experience behind her, she landed her first role with the Jedlicka in Cicero.
Between raising Henry with her husband, Stewart, and her day job as an administrator at a dental supply distributor, Boynton still finds time to perform.
"You do it for the joy of it. You don't do it for the money," she said.
The Roosevelt University graduate studied at the Chicago College of Performing Arts after falling in love with the stage as an elementary student during her first role as an orphan in a production of "Annie" at Addison Trail High School.
"It's about everyone coming together to create art and special moments on stage," said Boynton, who now lives in Elk Grove Village.
She especially enjoys working as a group on each production. Never having performed at Jedlicka before, Boynton said she made many new friends while rehearsing "Big Fish."
"Each experience brings something completely new," Boynton said.
The musical revolves around the relationship between Will and Edward, whom Boynton describes as two very different people.
The story is close to Boynton's heart since she lost her father when she was a child.
"Family is extremely important to me," Boynton said.
For Boynton, theater is a passion, not a job. She acknowledges it can be a tough career path, but encourages young performers to believe in themselves.
"Appreciate each experience you have," Boynton said.
Only one motivation makes sense to the actress.
"Just do it for the love of being part of theater," she said.
– – – –
If you go
What: "Big Fish"
Where: Jedlicka Performing Arts Center, 3801 S. Central Ave., Cicero
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 9
Tickets: $18, $2 discount for seniors; available at www.jpactheatre.com or 708-656-1800