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Review

Peter Pan and Wendy
by Fountain Hills Youth Theater

THE SHOW:  

Adaptation, Music and Lyrics by Julie Anna Ayers-Hackmann, story based on J. M. Barrie's 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. Peter Pan leads his group of Lost Boys through the adventures and the battles against Captain Hook and his pirates. We catch a glimpse of Neverland through the eyes of the three Darling children as they fly from their home in London to join Peter in his latest adventures. This 1995 adaptation by Julie Anna Ayers-Hackmann isn’t the classic you’re likely to be familiar with, but it’s a pretty entertaining musical that offers some new angles on the iconic characters and features such songs as Night Lights, The Doodle Doo, and The Tick Tock Croc. It opens with Jane going to bed with her Uncle Michael’s old teddy bear and asking her mother Wendy for a bedtime story…  

THE PRODUCTION:  

Fountain Hills Youth Theater staged this one in their very intimate theatre space that doesn’t allow for flying, but does allow for plenty of creative staging by Director Ross Collins and his group. That includes having adult Wendy (Allison Brown) and her daughter Jane (Cara Richman), after starting off the show with the beginning of the bedtime story, watch in delight from the side of the stage as the bedtime story and reminiscing emerges on center stage.  

That’s where we get a charming introduction the Darlings in the form of The Darling Family and a Night Lights lullaby and waltz. The kids eager for adventure are Rebecca Steiner as Wendy, David Woods as John, and Connor Klein as Michael. Katie Male delivers the lovely, heartfelt lullaby as Mrs. Darling and a comical reaction to the possible adoption of all the Lost Boys (later also appearing as a very convincing pirate Starkey) and Nicholas Hambruch is the stuffy Mr. Darling who transforms hilariously into the villainous Captain Hook who vainly craves flattery, is oft-irritated by his bumbling pirates (when really mad, he even rips out one of pirate Savoy Thompson’s yellow braids), and is still getting used to his hook as he keeps on nicking himself with it.  

That’s a hook he has courtesy of Peter Pan, in this show unusually played by a real boy with Sebastian Harris-Wylde who does a nice job trying to reunite with his Shadow (Elle Feinstein, who also shines as Tinker Bell). The Pan also does well leading his enthusiastic bunch of Lost Boys as they coax bedtime stories out of a delighted Wendy. Hunter DiGrazia squeezes a lot out of her smaller role as Tiger Lily, leading her athletic Indian Maids in Blood Brothers and having an amusing jealousy bout with Wendy over Peter Pan. While Emily Spets is a rip as Hook’s sidekick Smee with a nerdy laugh and voice, the duo leading a great crew of ditzy pirates. They all converge in a battle for Neverland that includes everything from Matrix-like combat and debilitating noogies.

Performed September 19 - 28, 2014

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~
 

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Nakoma: Madi Acridge
Bill Jukes: Zach Acridge
Nana/Crocodile: Audrey Alcorn
Curly: Sienna Battifarano
Poliwaptiwa: Courtney Berman
Griggs: Zolton Bonnenfant
Grown Wendy: Allison Brown
Halona: Sarah Brown
Nibs: Ben Campbell
Catori: Emily Campbell
Cecco: Spencer Cihak
Second Twin: Dylan DiGrazia
Tiger Lily: Hunter DiGrazia
Tinker Bell/Shadow/Magena: Elle Feinstein
Etenia: Mikayla Glancy
Mr. Darling, Captain Hook: Nicholas Hambruch
Peter Pan: Sebastian Harris-Wylde
First Twin: Lachlan Henderson
Tiva: Ana Hoffend
Shiner: Kaitlyn Hohl
Flint: Michaela Johnson
Michael: Connor Klein
Tiponi: Ava Koenig
Mr. Darling/Starkey: Katie Male
Tootles: Olga Nussbaum
Slightly: Bailey Pyritz
Jane: Cara Richman
Noodler: Asher Sheppard
Mr. Smee: Emily Spets
Young Wendy: Rebecca Steiner
Skylights: Savoy Thompson
Kanti: Madelyn Varela
John: David Woods

Director: Ross Collins
Musical Director: Jay Melberg
Choreography: Noel Irick
Costume Design: Mickey Courtney
Properties: Toni Spets
Hair & Make-Up: Allison Hacker
Set Design: Ross Collins
Light Design: Ross Collins
Sound Design: Ross Collins
Stage Manager: Devin Derr

   

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