Peter Pan (left) and Captain Hook (right) standoff in a battle to save Wendy (middle).
By Bhriana Smith
Our palms were aching from the velocity in which we clapped them together as the red curtains closed.
The cast and crew of Kean Stage delivered a spectacular, Broadway-worthy production of Sir J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, taking the audience on a journey to Neverland.
The influence of the steampunk lifestyle added a different but refreshing aspect to the classic musical. The set designer, Nick Benacerraf, undeniably captured all elements of Peter Pan without taking a single thing away from the play. The big clock on the stage –surrounded by numerous gears and goggles hinted to the one imperative theme in Barrie’s original play: time.
Austin Brecht, who played the role of Peter Pan, did a remarkable job capturing the innocence and elegance of the infamous boy who never wanted to grow up, his impeccable ability to capture all the childish innocence aided in the audience’s journey to Neverland.
Perhaps one of the more touching segments in the show is when Tinker Bell, played by Hanna Rose Bergen, dies in an attempt to save Peter Pan. Director Holly Logue, added an aspect that was utterly unexpected. In order to revive poor Tinker Bell, Peter Pan asked the crowd for applause.
The theater, which was initially quiet from shock in Tinker Bell’s passing, erupted with applause. People young and old were elated when Tinker Bell –now revived –sprung into the air, fairy dust exploding around her. The audience had become her salvation.
The Indians, Lost Boys, and Pirates also made the audience’s journey to Neverland worthwhile. Whether it was a funny line from one of the Lost Boys, the silliness of one of the pirates, or the fun unpredictability of the Indians, kept the audience anticipating what the actors would do next.
The older Darling children, actor Jack Tomy playing John Darling and Emily Conklin playing Wendy Darling, worked wonderfully together. Their absolutely adorable younger counterpart, played by both Lucas Toll Luchsinger and Joshua Hunt, definitely won over the hearts of the audience.
Even if you tried, it is impossible to forget the beautifully terrifying Captain Hook, played by Mark Zebro Jr. Zebro, who also played Mr. Darling. With elegance that would leave the even the most sophisticated people envious and wickedness that kept small children awake throughout the night, Zebro captured every component of Captain Hook. From the costume down to persona, he was one of the most wicked villains to grace Kean Stage.
The only thing more frightening than Captain Hook was the crocodile that frightened Captain Hook. Played by Taylor Woods, a high school senior at the UCVTS Academy for Performing Arts, the crocodile, ingeniously designed, frightened all of the children in the theatre.
Whenever the ticking, which signaled the arrival of the crocodile, the children in the audience gasp, or exclaimed “uh oh!” It was quite a comical sight.
Logue had nothing but good things to say about the cast of the production.
“This is an extraordinary cast. There’s something very magical about the way they all work together,” said Logue. “They’re sweet, they’re dedicated, and really, really hard working.”
From the special effects, to the orchestra who never missed a beat, to the lighting that illuminated the faces of all the crewmembers, every component of this musical was magical.
“For the audience, I hope they walk away feeling like they had a magical day,” said Logue.