The musical adaptation of PETER PAN, follows the familiar story of the boy who refuses to grow up. Enjoying hearing Mrs. Darling tell the Darling children stories, Peter Pan has frequented the Darling household. One night, he returns to reclaim his shadow which Mrs. Darling had previously captured. He accidently wakes the sleeping Wendy Darling and decides to take her to Neverland so she can be a mother to him and the Lost Boys. She agrees to go if her brothers can go too. Once in Neverland, the villainous Captain Hook wants to kidnap Wendy and make her the mother to him and his band of pirates.
Glenn Casale returns to PETER PAN again to direct this current tour, which began in 2011. He notably received a Tony Nomination in 1999 for directing one of PETER PAN'S Broadway Revivals. Glenn Casale keeps the plot moving forward, even though it does feel a bit overly drawn out by the end of the first act. The second act does seem to be better paced, but the defeat of Captain Hook feels somewhat rushed. I expected a longer, more grandiose battle than what was presented. Regardless of this, the flying effects and brightly colored caricatures that embody the stage for the entire performance captivate and delight the audience, especially the younger ones in the crowd.
Like Glenn Casale, Patti Colombo is returning to the current tour to choreograph the show. The show is well choreographed, but her most exhilarating work is present at the top of Act II in "Ugg-a-Wugg."
Cathy Rigby first played Peter Pan in 1974 in a theatre-in-the-round production. She finally got to play Peter on Broadway in 1990 and has repeatedly returned to the role with strong reviews every time. On the last night of her 59th year of life, she astounded and surprised Houston audiences with her nimble agility, gymnastic prowess, and indefatigable charisma and charm. There is no denying that Cathy Rigby has still got all the physicality that made her a household name as a young gymnast and Olympic athlete. She soars around the stage whether she is harnessed or not and delivers a powerhouse performance from her first appearance to her exciting final flight over the Orchestra level audience during curtain call. Her magnetism and brilliance on stage make one wonder if she is imbued with fairy dust, making believers out of every member of the audience. Her gentle alto voice works nicely in the show. It seemed a little shaky at times in the performance last night, leaving me to wonder if the star is fighting a cold.
As Captain Hook, Brent Barrett is the quintessential dastardly villain. He entered the stage to a chorus of boos, but the audience couldn't help but love him in performance. His dulcet baritone instrument engages the audience and captivates them when he sings. His stage presence, strong voice, and dance moves make his plotting, devious numbers some of the evenings most memorable performances. Brent Barrett clearly understands his role, makes it his own, and leaves the audience wanting more.
The Darling Children played by Krista Buccellato (Wendy), Julia Massey (Michael), and Lexy Baeza (John) do fantastic jobs with their roles. All three children are what the audience expects at all times, and each one is relatable to the child that lives in the heart of the adults and to each child in the audience. However, it is Julia Massey's young Michael leading the full chorus in a wildly frenetic, rhythmic dance during "Ugg-a-Wugg" that truly awed and enchanted the audience.