‘Peter Pan’ flies onto North Central stage
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media July 25, 2013 9:18AM
♦ July 26-28 and Aug. 2-4
♦ Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville
♦ Tickets, $10-$15
♦ (630) 637-7469
Peter Pan will fly again in Naperville.
The much-loved, family-friendly classic “Peter Pan” is running July 26-28 and Aug. 2-4 at North Central College.
Six performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays in Pfeiffer Hall.
The cast of 97 includes not only North Central students as pirates, but also features dozens of youth and adult residents from the community. Brian Lynch, North Central’s fine arts director, is the show’s director and choreographer.
“Peter Pan” is based on the play by J. M. Barrie and is the story of a young boy who doesn’t want to grow up. Children Wendy, John and Michael Darling fly off to Neverland with Peter Pan for adventures that include pirates, Indians, magic and a fairy named Tinker Bell.
There was a lot of interest in this show from the beginning of auditions, Lynch said.
“Between every young kid wanting to be a Lost Boy and every young lady and every young man wanting to be Peter Pan, and all the guys who wanted to be Hook, there was a lot of interest in this one,” he said.
The roles of Peter Pan, Wendy and Tiger Lily are double cast.
His cast is working hard and having fun learning the show.
“It’s going very well,” he said. “It’s more the Mary Martin version than the Kathy Rigby tour that was recently around, but it follows that story; the Jerome Robbins original version of ‘Peter Pan.’”
There are about 25 songs altogether in the show, with a full orchestra led by 2012 alumna Ali Kordelewski.
“She’s doing a terrific job, too.”
The energy among the cast has been running high throughout the rehearsal process.
“Everybody is really excited. Usually you have to get the cast revved up as you get closer to opening night to get them into the show, and that hasn’t happened with this one,” he said. “They’ve been fairly high energy this time.”
He picked “Peter Pan” because of all of the young people, especially high school and college-age people.
“We thought it was the perfect match, because the younger people can be the Lost Boys; my whole cadre of high school and college girls can be my Indians — although some of them are actually pirates, too — and the adults are my pirates. So it seemed to be a really good blend of where to use the talent in the community.”
His cast showed up not only prepared to work, but in some cases they knew the story better than he did.
“Some of the girls talked about reading the whole story growing up, one of the guys in the show knew every pirate’s name and all the Peter Pan stories. They were giving me all kinds of trivia about the show, like the entire last scene was added one night at out-of-town tryouts and it just stopped the show,” Lynch said. “The audience went absolutely crazy over the final scene, so they decided to keep it in. That’s the whole scene where Peter Pan comes back years later and Wendy is a grown woman then and he yells at her for being grown up.”
Don’t be surprised if this tugs at your heartstrings a bit, he said.
“It’s a lot of fun and then all of a sudden the adults in the show are going to be wiping some tears away because it’s about growing up,” he said. “It’s about loss of innocence and youth. You’re watching this and all of a sudden you’re going, ‘My little boy isn’t a little boy anymore.’ It’s kind of sneaky that way.”
The college is using Flying By Foy out of Las Vegas, a theatrical flying service.