Behind the scenes of ‘Peter Pan’

By Daniel Doan | Editor in Chief

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Peter Pan will have its first performance on Jan. 20 and will end on Jan. 29. This is the original Peter Pan story, not the Disney version, and will have some important differences.

This will be the second time Peter Pan will grace the stage. It was first performed a little over a decade ago and now it will returns with better costumes and sets. It was chosen as this year’s big musical by the music director, Michael Lysinger, and the orchestra director, Kaitlin Teske.

“We chose Peter Pan because we felt like it was a musical that would match the level of talent we had to work with and had tremendous audience appeal,” Mr. Lysinger said.

What distinguishes this musical from many others will be the fact that several characters such Peter Pan, the Darling children and Captain Hook, will fly. Practice began on Jan. 2 and continued for the rest of that week.

“We’ve started flying this week, and it’s one of the best times I’ve had in Pearce theatre,” said senior Trevor Norris, who will play Peter Pan. “It’s so much fun to hang upside down 20 feet in the air and get to do that in front of thousands of people. This show is going to be a good one.”

The costumes have been designed and created by senior Andre Ujcich and her assistant and fellow workers over the course of two weeks. She first designed costumes for Sweeney Todd and has created costumes for musicals and shows since then at the request of head theater director Heather Biddle. The costumes will be less cartoony and more in depth with colors, more realistic for the kind of environment Never Land is in.

“It’s always great to see the finished production, so you can see how all the pieces work together,” Andre said.

Technical Theatre teacher Kelly Cox and all of his classes worked together to build the sets. The musical will feature four main sets – the nursery, the forest, Hook’s pirate ship, and the Lost Boy’s home. Construction began in early September, but they didn’t finish until the middle of winter break because of the breaks they had to take for the other musicals.

“Start with a theme, discover a mood that works with the theme, and then develop a geometry that works with the mood,” Mr. Cox said, explaining how he went about designing the sets.

A big difference in this musical will be the change in characters. For instance, Tinker Bell is a ball of light no bigger than a fist and will be voiced by an instrument that represents fairy language. In addition, there will be no mermaids and no grotto.

However, there are new characters such as a kangaroo, lion and an ostrich, and the Darling’s housekeeper, Liza, gets more stage time. These aren’t new characters in the Peter Pan story. They were a part of the original version, but not the Disney and other variations. The animals’ purpose is to show the fun side of Never Land, playing with the Lost Boys and helping them fight the pirates.

“It’s interesting because she’s kind of a random part,” said Zoe Moore, who will play Liza. “Figuring out her characterization has been difficult because she isn’t a part of the Disney storyline.”

The music that will be played is in a genre all of its own. There will be little bits of jazz, tango and other music that will all balance each other out. For example, Captain Hook will have tango music played for him at times.

“I think they’ll do a fantastic job. We have a lot of top-notch students from the lead ensembles and fine arts program,” Mrs. Teske said. “They’ve been putting in a lot of hours to put this show together, and I can’t wait to see the final product.”

The big musical is the only time of the year when theater, choir, band and orchestra members all come to together to perform. With flying, magic and singing, Peter Pan has something for everyone.

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