Peter and the Starcatcher, winner of 5 Tony awards in 2012 and oft-produced nationwide opened last night at the Croswell Opera House and it is a lovely evening of theater, music, color, storytelling, and maybe a slight tear in your eye.
Based on the 2004 children’s book, the story tells of two ships crossing the sea to deliver something of rare value in a chest. What follows is story theater of the highest order as tale after tale spins out a quick succession of backstories for Peter Pan, Mrs Darling, Captain Hook, the crocodile, the lost boys, Neverland, and even Tinkerbell.
There’s lovely stagecraft in this production, and star-stuff sequences are particularly pretty. But stagecraft is all secondary in this show to the performances themselves, and they are terrific here. Julianne Dolan directs, Todd Schreiber musical directs, and Dean Shullick choreographs a terrific cast of 15 actors of all ages and two musicians.
While it’s not a musical, there is a lot of music, both songs and underscoring. While it’s not a dance show, there is dance. While it’s not a drama, there is drama. While it is not a pure comedy, there is a tremendous amount of comedy. There’s a reason this show is staged nationwide by casts of all ages and experience levels.
Ben Bascuk (Peter), Kylie McElrath (Molly), and Peter Crist (Black Stache) are tremendous leads of power and talent. They are supported by a who’s who of Croswell Opera House performers (only one of whom is making their Croswell debut) and they are all fantastic.
I was particularly fond of Crist’s Black Stache, as he chews the scenery, his fake mustache, and ultimately, well you find out why Captain Hook has an, um, hook. Always fantastic to see Terry Hissong onstage and his Smee is funny and touching.
If you have seen Starcatcher before, do not hesitate to see it again – this production is noteworthy for its great performances but also the color and splashes of whimsy created by scenic/lighting designer Crosby Slupe, and costume designer Alexandria Szczotka. If you have never seen Starcatcher before, by all means check it out and find out why it has quickly become one of America’s favorite plays.
Peter and the Starcatcher continues through October 23rd at Croswell Opera House, downtown Adrian, MI. Tickets at croswell.org
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