Peter and the Starcatcher soars on Broadway
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 23:05
"Peter and the Starcatcher” is marvelous.
Faith, trust and pixie dust is sprinkled in every piece of this production.
The performances, the dialogue, the set design, and the choreography all soars well beyond Neverland and lands among the stars on Broadway.
It’s absolutely one of the best plays ever to walk the plank. Even with the rare distinction as a play with music rather than a musical or merely a play, this show easily stands on its own. It’s just that good.
Playing over 100 characters, this cast of 11 “boys” and one girl, is stellar as is. Initially difficult to grasp and follow because they deliver the story in different roles, it quickly becomes visible in the clever ways they portray the plot.
It takes just a few scenes before the audience is hooked and witnessing an absolutely ingenious retelling of how a miserable orphan came to be “the boy who never grew up.”
Based on the best-selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher, a prequel to the Peter Pan tale by J.M. Barrie, gets the star treatment on Broadway after a successful run off-Broadway. And it is well deserved.
Raucous and touching all at once, this production is a sensationally unique version of how a nameless boy became Peter Pan, the leader of the Lost Boys on an island he names Neverland.
When Molly (Celia Keenan-Bolger) boards the Neverland and heads for Rundoon, she doesn’t know that the ship is carrying precious cargo.
Not only are there orphan boys in the bottom deck about to be sold into slavery, there is a chest of “starstuff.”
Starstuff is highly potent, magical pieces of stars that can give someone who touches it the ability to be just who they want to be, but it could be a disaster if delivered into the wrong hands.
An apprentice “starcatcher” who is immune to it herself, Molly discovers the chest and makes it her mission to get rid of it before it leads to any harm. It isn’t easy when a pirate named Black Stache (Christian Borle) is chasing after them for the treasure.
But Peter (Adam Chanler-Berat) and his friends help Molly, and make this an unforgettable ship ride that quickly becomes a shipwreck to an island destined to change everything.
Molly and Peter’s adventure is one the audience sails along for the entire trip. Just one piece of the plot, the entire story is told with more subplots through wild theatrics, excellent rhetoric and enormous talent.
But actor Christian Borle, who currently plays Tom Levitt in Smash, is the one to watch. He’s sure to hook a Tony nod next year and hopefully win a little bit of Broadway starstuff. His script and antics are truly fantastic.
Still, every moment in every actor’s scene is high spirited, wonderfully crafted and extremely swift in motion, for if you miss it, it’s too late.
The sharp wit and charm and references to modern day as smart as Ayn Rand or as silly as “ttfn” (ta-ta for now) makes it both bitingly humorous and intelligent.
In short, Peter and the Starcatcher isn’t a show strictly for children, nor grownups, but “big kids.”
Heroically tackling themes of friendship and family, it’s genuinely as appropriate for the entire family as with friends or a date. With a little starstuff, Peter can easily befriend anybody.
Peter and the Starcatcher is directed by Tony Award® winner Roger Rees (Nicholas Nickleby) and Tony Award® nominee Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and written by Tony Award® nominee Rick Elice (Jersey Boys). Playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theater for an open run, tickets start at $59.