My main problem with Big is that it doesn't sound like it's of the time the movie came out OR the time the musical premiered. It sounds like it's trying to be a classical musical, played contemporarily.... and WHY? I mean, there's already nothing worse than taking a classical musical and "updating" the orchestrations to sound more contemporary... if you're a musical set in the 80s and created in the 90s, why would you sound like you were written in the 50s (except, of course, for the poor attempt at rapping in the middle)? I think, for the most part, that most modern musical theatre composers have stopped doing that: we're living in the time we are living in, and they are, for the most part, writing music for that time. Unless you're Stephen Sondheim, who lives outside all music writing boundaries, it seems like you should write songs that either sound like the world we're in today, the world that the play is set it OR that are around a specific theme (even though I didn't enjoy Barnun AT ALL, at least it sounded like a circus the entire time, rather that sounding like an early 80s dance party).
That was my main problem. Other problems involved uninteresting melodies and uncreative lyrics (which seems to be a very common beef I have with musicals).
HOWEVER, the mom's song in Act 2, "Stop, Time" actually made me cry on my subway platform, and I have absolutely no idea why. I have no children. I think in general Act 2 is better than Act 1, and that's something that almost never happens in a musical.
Also, I can see why someone would WANT to make a musical based on such a good movie, but with few exceptions (mainly Heathers and a few others), I do not like musicals based on movies.
Big: the musical
Music by David Shire
Lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr.
Book by John Weidman