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Meet Clare Arena Haden and Scott Haden, our Sandra and Edward Bloom

BIG FISH features real-life husband and wife Clare Arena Haden and Scott Haden as Sandra and Edward Bloom. Clare was most recently seen in Forward Theater Company's production of Silent Sky and Theatre LILA's The Suitcase dreams while Scott recently played the Balladeer in Four Seasons Theatre's production of Assassins.


Clare Arena Haden (Sandra Bloom) is excited with her debut production with Four Seasons, and she is grateful to return to Theatre LILA after performing in The Suitcase Dreams. She received her MFA in acting from UW-Madison and currently teaches performance techniques for the School of Nursing there. She was last seen on stage in Forward Theater's Silent Sky and is a proud member of AEA, VASTA, and TESOL. Thank you to our families for making this dream a reality!

Scott Haden (Edward Bloom) is thrilled to join Theatre LILA and Four Seasons! Scott has enjoyed acting for theaters across the country, including American Players Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Writers’ Theatre (Jeff Nomination), Children’s Theatre of Madison, Madison Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, and Theatre at the Center. He is a member of Actors’ Equity, and is proud to serve as the Communications Director at Forward Theater Company in Madison. 

Interview with Clare Arena Haden, courtesy of BIG FISH co-producer Theatre LILA:
How did you get the parts of an onstage couple in BIG FISH?
We knew Scott was going to play Edward Bloom.  I wasn't going to audition at all, and then (director) Jessica Lanius asked if I would consider looking at the part of Sandra Bloom. We discussed it, and decided that even though it might be difficult for our family to juggle babysitting and rehearsals, we couldn't pass up an opportunity like this. 
Have you been cast together in plays before?
We've had a chance to do that in a few productions:  Cancer Stories with Wisconsin Story Project, Main Traveled Roads at Milwaukee Chamber Theater, and It's a Wonderful Life at Children's Theater of Madison. 

What's it like? Fun? Nerve-wracking?
I adore working with Scott. Getting the chance to fall in love over and over again is the best, and watching him command a role like this reminds me why I fell for him in the first place. Seeing him in his element, doing what he loves, is the best.  
What drew you to this project? 
I've always loved the movie (it's probably my favorite Tim Burton film), and the combination of the story and the music is just incredible. It's such a universal theme -- to borrow a bit from Hamilton: An American Musical, "When we die, how will we be remembered? Who will tell our story?"
The relationship between father and son goes straight to the heart.  It's about family, love, legacy, life, death, memory, magic, fantasy... and fish. What's not to like?
Do you have a favorite song or scene in the play? 
I'm looking forward to "Time Stops" because it takes me back to the first time I met Scott, on the steps of the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre in Grand Lake, Colorado.  The song actually captures what it was like for me perfectly.  I think I even saw a little glimmer in his eye that day. . .maybe it was our son Ben.
So, why would you recommend BIG FISH to Madison audiences?
I think everyone can relate to this show and will find it both delightful and poignant. It bounces around from the present to the past, and the audience is trying to figure out what is really true along with Will, Edward's son.  The memories are fantastical, vivid, touching, and larger-than-life... all prompted by the need to truly know the hero, Edward, and ultimately to be able to say goodbye and keep his memory alive.  I haven't been able to get through a reading or listening of it yet without crying.  That's a good sign.