Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Won't Grow Up

Have you noticed how Peter Pan seems to be everywhere in our culture right now?  A major live NBC broadcast of the classic musical in the works; a new musical based on "Finding Neverland;" and a big screen feature starring Hugh Jackman, "Pan,"slated for release in 2015.  But perhaps the most original, disarming and artful interpretation of J.M. Barrie's classic story came rollicking on to Broadway a couple years ago: "Peter and the Starcatcher," based on the best selling novels by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  Like Gregory Maguire's "Wicked,"  which imagines what happened before the action of "The Wizard of Oz," "Peter and the Starcatcher" weaves the tale of the adventures that made Peter Pan Peter Pan!  This piece is so fresh, so magical... and the tour is still on the road, so it's a great gift to be able to do one of the few licensed regional theatre productions that are happening now: this one at Pioneer Theatre Company.

As a classical actor, I am never happier with Shakespeare than when it is performed simply, on a bare stage, with the focus on the actors and the words.  "Peter and the Starcatcher" is a true ensemble piece, a clever and imaginative adventure in which the players move in and out of narrating and performing numerous memorable characters.  My role is the pirate first mate, Smee, sidekick to the show's comic villain, Black Stache (who eventually becomes Captain Hook), the role that won Christian Borle the Tony Award.  Smee gives me many opportunities for hilarity and fun, including a potentially show stealing moment as a rather homely mermaid!
George Shelton, the original Smee, 1904

The legend of Peter Pan is so deeply a part of our collective consciousness, and the idea of 'the boy who never grew up' has beguiled generations with dreams of eternal youth, adventure and magic.  "Peter and the Starcatcher" enchants with all of this, while being decidedly a smart, sassy, sometimes shameless fairy tale for grownups!  I look forward to jumping into the work and sharing my adventures in Salt Lake City.  Stay tuned!

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