'Peter Pan and Wendy,' A Must-See for the Holidays!

Photo by Teresa Castracane
The Darlings and Nana
The Darlings and Nana

Peter Pan and Wendy is a reimagining of J.M. Barrie’s classic work by Lauren Gunderson and its world premiere is now onstage now at Sidney Harman Hall through January 12, 2020. My suggestion is run, don’t walk to see this brilliant and happy production of a classic story. It is fun for children and adults because who can’t enjoy seeing Peter, Wendy and her brothers fly thought the air after Tinkerbell spreads her fairy dust on them. 

Gunderson has kept her promise when she said “We want to let the original and all its fantasy shine because, why would I ever touch that? That stuff is great. That’s why I love that story.” She does that with the help of one of the most brilliant and creative directors in the theater, Alan Paul. 

Justin Mark (Photo by: Scott Suchman)) Justin Mark

Paul said “At its core, Peter Pan is about imagination.” He makes it easy for the  audience to suspend reality for a couple of hours and let their imagination fly along with Peter to enjoy the sumptuous sets, a mischievous and magical Tinkerbell, an enormous crocodile, and even a real dog playing Nana. The sets are some of the most incredible I have ever seen at the Shakespeare thanks to the enormously talented Jason Sherwood. Then there are the wonderful costumes imagined by Loren Shaw. 

From the opening scene which takes place in the children’s bedroom of the Darling home you get caught up in the play and simply sit back and enjoy. The music by composer Jenny Giering is perfect as is the lighting by Isabella Byrd. The flying sequences choreographed by Paul Rubin let you easily suspend reality.

The there are the actors. Paul has put together an impressive cast with some extremely talented STC regulars like Derek Smith who plays both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling; and Jenni Barber who also plays two roles, Mrs. Darling in Edwardian England and then puts on her wings as Tinkerbell in Neverland and makes you love her in both. The ever delightful multi-talented and wonderfully funny Tom Story plays Hook’s right hand man Smee; and then the talented Gregory Wooddell and Michael Glenn play pirates.  

Sinclair Daniel and Justin Mark (Photo by: Teresa Castracane) Sinclair Daniel and Justin Mark

What makes this production a little different and very current is Gunderson has focused on the stories and portrayal of three women characters and the respect that Peter has for them by the end of the play. Two of the women and Peter are played by newcomers to STC but each is one you will hope to see over and over again. First is Justin Mark as Peter Pan. He is brilliant and vulnerable and fun to watch from the first scene to the last. Sinclair Daniel as Wendy Darling is strong and captivating and Isabella Star LaBlanc as Tiger Lily is perfect. In this adaption Tiger Lily has been written with sensitivity and a sense of history, as an activist, a smart and capable girl who defends her home and becomes an inspiration for Wendy. Rounding out the leads are Chauncey Chestnut funny and charming as Michael Darling and Christopher Flaim as John Darling, Together with the lost boys including Joriah Kwame, Tendo Nsubuga and all the others they bring to life Gunderson and Paul’s vision to make Peter Pan relevant today. They focus and explore how young men and women begin to shape their own identifies. 

This Peter Pan and Wendy is a must see for the holidays. Take yourself and bring your children, nieces and nephews. You will all enjoy a delightful time in the theater. Tickets will go fast to Peter Pan and Wendy so order yours today.