Peter Pan flies into Lewisburg
By Scott Pearson
If you were doing a musical with a cast of youngsters, what better play to stage than one about a boy who didn’t want to grow up?
The Marshall County Community Theatre production of Peter Pan Jr. opens this week at the Dixie Theatre on the Lewisburg Square.
The adventures of Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up, in Neverland with his troop of Lost Boys and their Brave Girl allies battling Captain Hook and his pirates has captured the imagination of audiences, both young and old, since author J.M. Barrie’s first stage production in 1904.
This show delivers on that spirit despite, or perhaps because of, the cast being the same age as the young characters they play.
Auditions for the show were limited to youngsters in 3rd through 8th grade.
Director Allison Mulliniks said that the 37 cast members represent every elementary school in the county, with one exception.
Bryson Whaley, a high school freshman, plays the dastardly Captain Hook, as he schemes to finally capture his sworn enemy Peter Pan once and for all.
The other lead actors, Reid Mitchell as Peter Pan, Brady Phillips as Wendy, and Annabelle Mulliniks as Tiger Lily, make the audience forget their age with the assurance with which they perform.
This junior version of the 1954 Broadway musical is slimmed down some for younger casts, but one wouldn’t notice from the production.
There is nothing juvenile about the show that the young cast delivers.
The songs are sung with gusto, and the acting encompasses both comedy and drama, while always being entertaining.
The cast even flies with the same skill as their Broadway conterparts.
The standard for productions from MCCT has always been high, and these youngsters meet that expectation.
The youthful cast has been practicing three nights a week for almost three months to get the show ready.
Mulliniks said that the process hasn’t always been easy with this being the first stage experience for over half of the cast, but that the cast have really hit their marks in the last week as opening night draws near.
“It always happens,” said producer Nick Phillips. “In the last week, it all comes together and they pull it off.”
Opening night for the show was Thursday, but there are still plenty of chances to see this family classic.
Shows are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m.
Sunday matinees are offered on Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 at 2 p.m.
Tickets for the shows are $15 and are available at the box office beginning one hour before show time or online at dixietheatre.org.