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Review

THE SHOW:  

Music by Mark "Moose" Charlap, with additional music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, with additional lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with a story based on J. M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan and his novel “Peter and Wendy.”  

Somewhere there’s a land full of pirates and Indians and fairies and Lost Boys who never grow old. The land is Neverland, an island so small there is hardly any room between one adventure and another. The leader of the Lost Boys is, of course, Peter Pan – the magical boy who flies the Darling children from their home in London to his latest adventures. But in this musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s immortal fairy tale, you can only finish the adventure if you’re still young enough to believe in fairies.  

THE PRODUCTION:  

Director Diane Feldman sets Children’s Civic Light Opera’s Peter Pan in the 1960s and Neverland in a playground where their Lost Boys will never have to grow up. The set by John Paul Luckenbach, John Ong, and Miriam Dafford includes slides and things to climb on, the peace pipe blows bubbles, and the ocean is a kiddy pool filled with plastic balls. In fact, pirate Starkey (Pales Gensler) has a fine time playing in them after he’s forced to walk the plank. And despite some technical problems that grounded the planned flying and no little light for Tinker Bell, the production team and cast create a lot of magic.  

Talented twelve-year-old Zoe Wernik takes us to Neverland as the boy who won’t grow up, leading the Lost Boys in her anthem I Won’t Grow Up with gusto, making friends with a humorous Tiger Lily (Daisy McElfresh), and showing off some impressive vocals while playing with Hook as the mysterious veiled lady. Carly Besterman is an amusing Wendy Darling as she takes on the role of mother, and tries to take on the role of girlfriend. The Lost Boys (one of whom has a “super smeller” like one of the boys-who-never-grew-up on the television show Psych) are a diverting lot who eagerly chime in for I Won’t Grow Up, and also meld tenderly with Peter, Wendy, John (Zachary Seaton-Lewis), Michael (Dev Wernik), Liza (Hannah Lottenberg), and the Indians in the wistful, homesick Distant Melody.  

Captain Hook misses having a mother as well. Oliver Berliner is a riot as the dastardly Hook, his comedic skills matched by a remarkable singing range. Hook and knitting-happy sidekick Smee (Benny Pitt) make for a natural team, playing perfectly off each other as they lead their band of highly entertaining pirates through the trials and tangos and tarantellas of pirating.  

The show nicely captures the story’s bittersweet ending between Peter, Wendy, and Wendy’s daughter Jane (Caitlyn Turen) as the young can still find Neverland and the old remain left behind. In this case, sadly left behind in the 1980s.

Performed August 3-4, 2013

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 

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~ The Family ~
Mr. Darling: Reno Behnken
Mrs. Darling: Sofia Frohna
Wendy Darling: Carly Besterman
John Darling: Zachary Seaton-Lewis
Michael Darling: Dev Wernik
Liza: Hannah Lottenberg
Jane: Lila Grayson/Caitlyn Turen

~ The Lost Boys ~
Peter Pan: Zoe Wernik
Tootles: Akira Shelton
Slightly Soiled: Geoffrey Burton
Twin 1: Reno Behnken
Twin 2: Kent Seeberger
Curley: Milo Bechtloff
Nibs: Sofia Frohna
Reeds: Natasha Collier

~ The Pirates ~
Captain Hook: Oliver Berliner
Smee: Benny Pitt
Starkey: Pales Gensler
Cecco: Adam Linde
Noodler: Hannah Abikzer
Mullins: Elena Brownie
Cookson: Morgan McIntosh

~ The Indians ~
Tiger Lily: Daisy McElfresh
Feather: Kennedy McIntosh
Willow: Nicole Montellano

Nana/Crocodile: Marley Hall

~ Dancers ~
Peacock/Indian: Caitlyn Turen
Lioness/Indian: Sadie Levinsohn
Kangaroo/Indian: Julia Weinstock

Director/Musical Director/Artistic Director/Producer: Diane Feldman
Assistant Director: Alyce Tawil
Choreographer: Katie Blacksmith
Scenic Design: John Paul Luckenbach, John Ong, Miriam Dafford
Art Director/Lead Scenic Painter: Miriam Dafford
Costume Design and Construction: Nicholas Hirata
Assistant Costumer: Nora Roeder
Lighting Design/Programming/Master Electrician: Geoffrey Galper
Sound Design: Jim Fleck (Syncitup Audio)
Conductor: Jeff Markgraff
Stage Manager: Sarah Cowan
Assistant Stage Managers: Andalusia Kear, Micaela Martin

   

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