By Samantha Larkin
Peter Pan, Barton’s second show of the season, will open Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center in downtown Wilson. Tickets for the performance are $12, but free for Barton students and Employees.
The performance dates will be Nov. 12-14 and 19-21 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. The show will be directed by Sherry Lee Allen, who teaches dance and voice with musical theatre at Barton.
“I am excited to bring to the stage balance of traditional Peter Pan and a fresh look at the story,” Allen said.
Peter Pan is about the story of the boy who refused to grow up. Peter finds orphan boys, or “lost boys,” and becomes their leader in Neverland. Peter visits the window of the Darling family in London to hear the stories the mother tells to her children.
One night Peter asks the girl, Wendy Darling, to come and be their mother in Neverland. So Wendy and her two brothers, Michael and John, fly to Neverland with Peter and his fairy friend, Tinker Bell. While in Neverland adventure ensues. “If you put yourself in the mindset of a child it’s all about imagination,” Allen said.
This show will be a collaborative production with the Wilson Playhouse. Barton and the Playhouse have collaborated on shows in the past, but “this is the first big musical we’ve tried to do together,” Allen said.
According to Allen, “Playhouse had been wanting to do this show for awhile and they were hopeful this would be the show they were able to present this year.” Allen added, “I’m looking forward to collaborating with the Wilson Playhouse and the community and getting to showcase their talent…The spirit of community is prevalent here and I really appreciate that.”
Allen said, “One of the biggest and most exciting things about this show is the flying,” which will be done by ZFX.
This show has an array of characters. There are pirates, Indians, lost boys, mermaids, different animals and many more. “The pirates are going to be hysterical, and very cantankerous and enjoyable at the same time,” Allen said.
Most productions of Peter Pan use a light to portray Tinker Bell. In this performance there will be a live character portraying the role. “I like the humor that’s involved with Tinker Bell’s character,” said Allen. She thought it would be “fun for the audience to see live on stage and it adds magic.”
This production features a cast of 40 people. Allen said, “The cast should be 24 or 25, but there are forty.” There were many parts added and there are also girls portraying male roles.
The role of Peter Pan will be played by freshman and deaf education major, Ashley Keefe. Allen said, “A new fresh take on the show was looking at casting a boy for Peter Pan, but I really loved Ashley’s performance as Peter.”
She added that the part of Peter is written for a woman to sing vocally and that the boys became more valuable in different roles.
Trish Bradshaw will be working with Allen to choreograph the production. The show will have Allison Dellinger as the stage manager and Sarah Kirk as assistant stage manager. Chris Bernier will be doing the set design. Allen said, “You can expect large creative sets from Chris who will be doing the lighting as well.”
Rehearsals will start Oct. 5, the day after the Rocky Horror encore performances, which Allen is also directing.
Towards the end of the adventure, Peter Pan is faced with the challenge of rescuing Wendy and her brothers and learns to take on responsibility. Years later, Peter comes back to take Wendy’s youngest daughter, Jane, to Neverland. Allen said that the ending is not so much an end but a new beginning.
“I want adventure and magic and all those themes to come true as well as people learning a message like there’s no place like home, and responsibility is not such a bad thing,” Allen said.