The Journey Towards Neverland: Visiting Peter and the Starcatcher – September 2, 2012

Sometimes the journey you intend to take and the choices you make lead to somewhere quite unexpected and extraordinary. I had fully intended to attend the final performance of One Man, Two Guvnors on September 2nd, so I started my journey to Times Square and to the TKTS booth in Duffy Square with the hopes of obtaining a discounted ticket. When I arrived shortly before noon, I saw that One Man Two Guvnors was not among the shows listed on the TKTS board, which was a good indication of the show’s success and popularity, but not good for me, as I almost always have been able to obtain closing performance tickets there. Subsequently, I made my way to the Music Box Theatre and saw that there was a line outside the box office (on Sundays, the box office opens at 12PM), so I waited on line, hoping there would be standing room tickets; shortly after the box office opened, one of the box office staff came out and announced that there would not be any standing room, and that there was only full price tickets sold. As full price was announced at $142, the line dissipated quickly, with me included – as much as I enjoyed the play, I personally could not justify paying full price (and that full price amount) for a rear mezzanine seat, which were the only seats remaining. I headed back to the TKTS booth and looked over the discounts available as most of the other shows listed were either ones I had already seen or had little to no interest of seeing, I opted to see Peter and the Starcatcher, and obtained a mid orchestra (left) seat.

Peter and the Starcatcher is a hilarious play with music, based on the book Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, tells the backstory of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the origins of Neverland. In this prequel, Peter is known as “Boy”, orphaned at a young age with no memory of his own name (or if he ever had one), Captain Hook starts out as “Black Stashe”, highly theatrical with a penchant for puns and misused words and Neverland was first known as Mollusk Island. Much of the cast narrate the story at certain points of the play, using props with great hilarity and imagination – ropes simulating door frames or ocean waves, flapping yellow rubber gloves to simulate birds and model ships. The show structure had such a light-hearted feel, with quick-paced dialogue (including some pop culture references), low-tech special effects, and some incidental songs woven in, and most of the well-known elements of the Peter Pan lore are also featured, including the pirates, the giant crocodile (known as “Mr. Grin”) and mermaids.

The cast was astounding, some playing multiple roles throughout – notable standouts were Adam Chanler-Berat, as Boy (later Peter) who portrayed the innocence and world-weariness of a boy is distrustful of adults and yearns to stay a boy “for a while longer” with equal balance, Celia Keenan-Bolger, as Molly Aster, world-wise and serious-minded, who yearns to be a full-fledged Starcatcher (of the magical starstuff), Matthew Saldivar as Black Stashe, who played the part with great panache and great comic timing and Kevin Del Aguila, as Smee, the perfect foil and sidekick to Black Stashe.

The stage door experience was great, as always, with a decent turnout waiting for the cast, with one fan having the cast sign a pineapple (a pineapple is a prominent prop piece in the show and a fun running gag). The cast was having as much fun signing playbills, chatting with fans and posing for photos (some channeling their on-stage characters when posing for photos):

Clockwise from top left: Adam Chanler-Berat, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Matthew Saldivar & Kevin Del Aguila

All in all, Peter and the Starcatcher is among the few truly hilarious, family friendly plays on Broadway now* and it will certainly appeal to fans of the Peter Pan tales, as well as to all who are still children at heart. TTFN!

 

*Update 01/13/13: While it has been announced that Peter and the Starcatcher is closing on Broadway on January 20, 2013, it has also been announced that the play will be moving off-Broadway in spring 2013, though the exact details have not yet been determined**.

**Update 01/18/13: Per playbill.com, Peter and the Starcatcher  will be transferring to the New World Stages and performances will begin March 18, 2013.

Signed playbill