The Variety Children’s Theatre brought to life an outstanding musical that even made my father, who came to visit for the weekend, pleased. “Peter Pan” was performed October 25 through 27 at the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall of the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at University of Missouri-St. Louis. The welcoming atmosphere upon arrival created a relaxing and fun impression that might have brought out one’s inner child. Filled with audience members of all ages, the anticipation could be felt with the light kicking of seats by excited little feet.
The original stage production of “Peter Pan” was performed on December 27, 1904, at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London, England. J.M. Barrie’s play and the 1911 novel led to a full fleet of adaptations to follow, all meant to capture the essence of a young boy devoted to “never” growing up, young children that wander too far from home, Native Americans who are light on their feet, pirates who walk as funny as they talk, and the mystical place where “dreams are made” called Never Never Land.
The Variety Children’s Theatre, alongside Actor’s Equity Association, The Big Muddy Dance Company, and director Lara Teeter, were a team ready to take on the challenge.
Once the show began, it was clear how strong the musical aspect of the play was going to be, as the orchestra in the pit below, conducted by Greg Schweizer, performed a medley of the songs to be sung throughout the production. Without skipping a beat, the lights eventually faded and the audience was brought to the beginning scene, with Mrs. Darling (Susie Wall) putting the children, Wendy, John, and Michael (Abigail Isom, Ronan Ryan, Michael Harp, respectively), to bed.
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