Janessa Gillette, Trevor Sanderson, Ryan HartzellWhat happens when the boy who wouldn’t grow up meets Encore Youth Theatre? A bit of magic, a bit of nostalgia, and more than a bit of zany, unexpected humor around every bend of this production, co-produced by Encore Youth Theatre and Premiere for Kids.

Janessa Gillette soars into her youth theatre swan song as the title character, performing with spirited leadership and boyish charm, who much prefers to be leading the adventures of the fun-loving Lost Boys against pirates than listening to a chatty Wendy Darling (except whenever he hears a bit of flattery). And he doesn’t really know exactly what to make of Tinkerbell’s jealous tirades against his new friend Wendy. This is one of the rare productions that has an actual actress playing Tink (rather than a little light), with Hannah Moors as the pixie who is not at all fond of the affection that Wendy showers on Peter. And she’s not afraid to show it, whether she’s carelessly tossing Wendy’s clothes out of her hope chest, or nicely sprinkling pixie dust on young Michael and John before chucking a bunch of it at Wendy, or at one point repeatedly slamming Wendy’s face into the floor.

Poor battered and bruised Wendy is played by Rebecca Ivan, infusing an often bland role with a bit more character than usual, whether she’s dealing with the spiteful sprite, or dealing with a boy who just doesn’t get it, or getting shot in the butt by an arrow fired by a lost boy (after encouragement from Tink). Reed Lievers is amusingly good as younger brother Michael, and Michael Donnell is cute as the youngest, John.

But it’s going to take more than cuteness to survive battle with the pirates of Neverland led by the infamous Captain Hook. Well, okay, they’re not that scary. But they are frighteningly funny. Ryan Hartzell is a dastardly Hook, who literally tries kicking his band of pirates into a more serious lot (when he catches them tricked by Peter Pan into doing the Hokey Pokey, Hook kicks one of them off the stage – thanks in part to the flying apparatus used mostly for sending Peter and the Darling kids flying about). Trevor Sanderson is a riot as his first mate Mr. Smee, playing him as a dotty old man given to calling his sword “my precious,” and with a humongous butt that jiggles giddily when he tangos with Hook, whom Smee clearly adores. Cecco (Mitchell McCollum) adores Captain Hook as well, the one pirate adorned in pink who thinks that Hook’s hook is “sooooo cute.” The pirates are a fun lot, costumed in a variety of colorful costumes – especially when they get in their disguises (a flower, a man with a walker, an ace of spades, a flower, a ballerina, etc.). And, of course, they also manage a pretty mean Hokey Pokey.

Meanwhile, Jalie Fransway leads the Indians as the energetic Tiger Lily, in this case accompanied by her parents – an amusing Chiefy Wiefy (Jake Tidwell) and Chiefy Wiefy Wifey (Sarah Ahlquist). Katie Ventura is a crazy Liza the Maid, and Myles Vencill has great personality as the Darling dog Nana.

As you can tell, Director Randall Hickman had a lot of fun with this one. Just a few of the other creative touches include having a trio of mermaids as ditzy blondes, having the lost boys protect Michael from the pirates by each of them stating, “I am Michael!” – until the last one proclaims, “I am Spartacus!” And then there are those totally random Neverland insects buzzing across the stage from time to time, practically stealing the show on their own. It all takes place in Douglas Davis’ pleasant set seemingly straight out of a storybook that will always keep us young.

Performs June 19 - 22, 2008.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Peter Pan: Janessa Gillette
Tinkerbell: Hannah Moors
Wendy Darling: Rebecca Ivan
Michael Darling: Reed Lievers
John Darling: Michael Donnell
Liza the Maid: Katie Ventura
Nana the Dog: Myles Vencill
Mrs. Darling/Grown-up Wendy: Emily Nash
Mr. Darling/Captain Hook: Ryan Hartzell
Jane: Claire Vencill

Cassie Dibbins
Claire Vencill
Katie Evans

Neverland Insects:
Katie Marie Anderson
Sayde Blanchard
Ravyn Bowen
Miranda Colvin
Sophie Crawford
Casey Frame
Gracyn Gambill
Mari McMullen
Maddix McWha
Sierra Weis

Tiger Lily: Jalie Fransway
Chiefy Wiefy: Jake Tidwell
Chiefy Weify Wifey: Sarah Ahlquist
The Tribe:
Melinda Anderson
Karli Buchwald
Celeste Butler
Crystal Cummings
Rachel Davis
Cassie Dibbins
Maddie Fitzgerald
Heidi Garcia
Amber Hofland
Katie Jones
Brenna Rose Marian
Mileah Ordillas
Alexandra Rogers
Hannah Sazon
Rachel Sherman
Jaime Sykes

~ Lost Boys ~
Slightly: Katie Rodgers-Heniser
Professor: Elizabeth Richardson
Wolf: Sarah Wikler
Tootles: Austin Kelley
Talk Back: Catherine Lynch
Curly: Trevan Gillette
Nibs: Hayley Marian
Tracer: Tara Young
1st Twin: Brontee Ryan
2nd Twin: Olivia Nash
Alexis Alvillar
Darian Beauvais
Tawni Bowen
Marshall Briggs
Andrew John Davis
Zachariah Dotts
Sabrina Enns
Sterling Farrant
Kathleen Garcia
Sarah Goldstein
June Hall
Abagail Hallberg
Vincent Llorente
Shea Malone
Skye McMillan
Dana Muldowney
Teva Needleman
Sarah Nirschl
Hayden Royster
Mary Sellers
Annelise Streiff
Jacqueline Thomas
Elizabeth Urbina

~ Pirates ~
Mr. Smee: Trevor Sanderson
Cecco: Mitchell McCollum
Noodler: Tim Cabal
Mullins: Jonah Price
Jukes: Sergio Luna
Flint: Johnny Daniel
Starkey: Alex Davis
Alex Contreras
Jake Halsey
Tyler Lemire
Nick Massari
Jeremy Mauritzen
Colin McNamara
David Mendez
Kurtis Omori
Cody Thompson
Brent Yerkes

Director: Randall Hickman
Choreography: Alisan Whitman and Randall Hickman
Musical Direction: Kimberly Henry
Stage Manager: Myles Vencill
Set Design and Construction: Douglas Davis
Orchestra Conductor: Jeff Lehman
Light Design: Randall Hickman


Home   |   Awards   |   Reviews   |   News   |   Actors   |   Headshots   |   Theatres   |   Calendars   |   Newsletters   |   Membership
Auditions   |   Workshops   |   Drama Instruction   |   Playwrights/Scripts   |   Vendors   |   Links   |   Advertising   |   About Us