<Theatre Mirror Review>"Peter Pan" "PETER PAN">

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entire contents copyright 2015 by Tony Annicone

"Peter Pan"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Steps Off Broadway's first show of their summer season is the musical version of "Peter Pan." The original play was by J.M. Barrie written in 1904 which was based on his novel, "Peter and Wendy" but this musical version has music mostly by Mark Charlap, with additional music by Jule Styne, and most of the lyrics are by Carolyn Leigh with additional lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It was originally adapted and directed by Jerome Robbins. The original Broadway version in 1954 starred Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Richard as Captain Hook where they both won Tony Awards. The show is the story of the never-aging boy who transports the three Darling children to the land of Neverland with its Pirates, Indians and lost boys. Peter faces many adventures most notably with his nemesis Captain Hook. Broadway veteran Kristopher Kyer is the director of this musical and he infuses his cast with high energy and obtains topnotch performances from them. Musical director Esther Zabinski brings out the best vocals in the cast while choreographer Keith Mottola creates many clever dance numbers. Their combined expertise enthralls the audience winning this hard working cast a standing ovation at the close of the show.

Kristopher not only directs this show but plays the role of Captain Hook, too. He steals many a scene trying to do away with Peter. Kristopher excels as this comic roguish Pirate who oozes in and out of his scenes threatening bodily harm to Peter Pan and the boys while also threatening his men with his hook. He leads his pirate band in song and dance in "Pirate March", "A Princely Scheme" where they do a tango, "Another Princely Scheme" where they do the tarantella and in "Hook's Waltz" with them. Kristopher brings the curmudgeon to life and displays his strong voice in his numbers. Kristopher also plays Mr. Darling, winning many laughs with this character, too. Cara DiPietro, a beautiful auburn haired girl, shines as Peter Pan. Her high energy and fantastic voice overwhelms the audience in her topnotch numbers. From "I've Gotta Crow" to "Neverland" to "I'm Flying" to "Wendy" and "I Won't Grow Up", Cara delivers the goods in this role with her interactions with the whole cast and when she begs the audience to save Tinkerbell's life with their applause, you really believe the magic Peter is begging for. She is also dynamite in her athletic flying scenes and when she bounds around the stage with the boys and the Indians as well as when she fights Hook and the pirates. This role is another feather in her cap for this marvelous young actress! Joel Kahn is a hoot as Smee who gets beaten up and thrown around the stage during the show, winning many laughs from the audience.

The Darling children are wonderfully played by Shauna Brosky, Nicholas Levine and Noah Smith. Shauna has a beautiful singing voice which she uses in "Tender Shepherd" with the two boys and her mother. She sings "I'm Flying" with the boys and the lovely ballad, "Distant Melody" with Peter.  Nicholas as John is 14 years old and is a strong actor, having reviewed him as Pugsley last year in "The Addams Family." He shares this role with Thomas Fitzgerald at alternating performances. They also capture the hearts of the audience with their earnest portrayals. Noah as Michael steals many a scene with his teddy bear clutched in his hand. Their Mother is well played by Cynthia Caldwell. Another invigorating performer is Rosalyn Smith as Tiger Lily. She doesn't stop dancing in the show with the Indians and in "Ugg a Wugg" with Peter, the lost Boys and the Indians, too. Nana, the Saint Bernard dog is played by Devon Matos who also plays the Crocodile who wants to finish off Captain Hook. So for a trip back to Neverland and the world of Peter Pan, be sure to catch this show before Peter flies away for good. It is a show for audiences of all ages to enjoy and is given a splendid rendition by Steps Off Broadway.

"Peter Pan" (12 - 28 June)
@ 799 South Main Street, BELLINGHAM MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide