Saturday, February 16, 2013

Quick Hit Theater Review: Peter Pan -- the Palace

Peter Pan (Cathy Rigby) and Tiger Lily. Photo: Michael Lamonte
Peter Pan
Starring Cathy Rigby
Original Broadway Production Conceived, Directed and Chorepgraphed by Jerome Robbins
Production Direction by Glenn Casale; Choreography by Patti Columbo
Music by Moose Charlap (additiona music by Jule Styne
Lyrcis by Carolyn Leigh (additional lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green)
The Palace Theater, Waterbury

Act Fast:  Remaining shows Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1 pm

What's it All About?
Cathy Rigby stars Peter Pan, the little boy who never wants to grow up. He flies into the Georgian era  London home of the Darlings (Brett Barrett and Kim Crosby) and whisks their children, Wendy (Krista Buccellato), Michael (Sophie Sooter or Hadley Belle Miller) and John (Lexy Baeza) away to Neverland, where highflying adventure awaits. There are Captain Hook (Barrett) and his pirates, Tiger Lily (Jenna Wright) and her Indians and a hungry crocodile (Clark Roberts who also plays the family's dog) leading to swashbuckling adventures.

What are the Highights?
Top notch performance from Rigby, who has been playing this role for two decades. She's a pixie-sized energy burst, doing acrobatics, belting out songs and flying through the air while spreading fairy dust (flying choreography Paul Rubin that makes that other green guy in Spider-Man Take Back the Dark turn a deeper shade with envy.) She does a terrific portrayal of a young boy.

LOTS of gigging kids delighted with the special effects spectacular lighting by Michael Gilliam -- especially for Tinkerbell -- and visually stimulating sumptuous sets by John Iocavelli).

Wright's dancing skills are an asset in Neverland and James Leo Ryan as pirate Smee adds comic relief in a script that surprising is full of genuine humor.

The drumming number "Ugg-a-Wugg" bringing the audience back in after intermission is a treat, as is the full-sounding orchestra directed by Bruce Barnes.

What are the Lowlights?
Opportunities to witness really bad parenting as children are allowed to talk loudly throughout the performance -- often with the parent conversing right along. Nearby ushers didn't address the situation or stop folks from videotaping during the performance. Also, crunchy snacks sold in crackly bags are permitted in the theater. The first part of the second act sounded like feeding time at the zoo -- thank goodness for those pounding drums.

More Information:

Since 1990, Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby has made four appearances on Broadway. The show received four Tony® Nominations including “Best Revival of a Musical” and “Best Actress in a Musical.” The production also won an Emmy Award.
Tickets: $70, $60, and $50; 203-346-2000;; box office, 100 East Main St., Waterbury.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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