From heart-wrenching films to questionably cast live television musicals, it seems as if every piece of the Peter Pan story has been thoroughly exhausted. However, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” dubbed as “a grownup’s prequel to Peter Pan,” is a fresh and exhilarating play with music currently onstage at MusicalFare Theatre.
This production is pure magic.
The play was penned by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, with music by Wayne Barker. Through a jam-packed two-and-a-half hours, we learn the backstories of almost everything and everyone in the Peter Pan story. The reveals are too enjoyable to give away in this review, and even with modern cultural references and musical sampling, they fit right into the story of Peter Pan.
Director Chris Kelly has assembled a masterful ensemble of twelve, all of whom seamlessly transition from character to character – 100 of them, to be exact. They are skilled comedians, vibrant singers and above all, incredible entertainers. They navigate through an incredibly fast-paced, costume and prop-heavy production with ease and incredible flair. Everyone pulls their own weight and it is truly a spectacular ensemble piece.
If there was ever an actor I could watch for hours on end, it’d be Steve Copps as Black Stache. With the attention to detail and layers of personality he explores as this hilarious character, you’d think he’d been preparing for this role his entire life. This is surely one of his best performances with one character voice clearly reminiscent of Tim Curry in his heyday.
I bow to Renee Landrigan. She’s sassy, awkward and sweet as Molly, going from insane physical comedy to a heartwarming scene in the blink of an eye. She’s the bright light of this production and is what keeps the audience connected to the heart of the show.
Other standouts include Jesse Tiebor as The Boy and Anthony Alcocer as Slank/Sanchez/Fighting Prawn. The cast is rounded out by Jacob Albarella, Bobby Cooke, Kevin Craig, Philip Farugia, Jordan Levin, Jesse Tiebor, Daniel Torres, Doug Weyand, and Preston D. Williams. Farugia also served as music director and plays a myriad of instruments to accompany the cast.
The production quality, like the cast, is out of this world. Chris Schenk’s set is gorgeous under Chris Cavanagh’s lighting design, specifically in the underwater scenes. Coupled with his sound design, both are incredibly successful at transporting the audience to this magical faraway place. I’d also be remiss not to commend the mammoth efforts of costume designer Kari Drozd and hair, makeup and wig designer Susan Drozd. They tackled a LOT of pieces for this show and provided that extra sparkle that made this production unforgettable.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” is pure magic and a promising kickoff to MusicalFare’s 27th season. Do yourself a favor and escape to this production before it closes.
Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes including intermission
“Peter and the Starcatcher” runs through October 8th at MusicalFare Theatre. For more information, click here.