Tuesday, December 17, 2013


To say J. M. Barrie was obsessed with the mythical character he created, a boy who only wanted to have fun and never grow up, is an understatement.  From 1904 to 1928, he wrote draft after draft of a manuscript about his favorite boy, a lad by the name of Peter Pan.

The Yale School of Drama, until Thursday, December 19, has chosen to take one of those old forgotten scripts and created an innovative and imaginative version of their own.  Quite conveniently and providentially, Yale University's Beinecke Library is the repository for the world's largest collection of J. M. Barrie's books, letters and writings.  The University Theatre in New Haven will showcase this most unusual adaptation of "Peter Pan."

Forget Cathy Rigby flying over the audience.  Here we begin in an orphanage:  think Little Orphan Annie if you will.  This ragamuffin collection of Lost Boys is prepared to entertain you by telling you the tale of that hero of motherless lads, their captain and champion Peter Pan.  With a collection of odd items, pillows, cots and bed sheets, a few musical instruments, a broken umbrella, a hodge podge of trunks and valises, this talented troupe puts on quite a show.

All the usual suspects are here, Mr. Darling (Tom Pecinka), Mrs. Darling (Michelle McGregor), Wendy (Sophie von Haselberg), Michael (Mariko Nakasone), John (Matthew McCollum), Nana (Christopher Geary) and, of course, Peter himself (Mickey Theis) who all morph, quick as a wink, from orphans to Indians to pirates, including Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily (both Prema Cruz).  This baker's dozen cast also includes Chris Bannow, Aaron Bartz, Hugh Farrell, Maura Hooper and Aaron Luis Profumo.  Dustin Wills gets full credit for adapting and directing this creative version, one that has a much darker ending than a man-eating crocodile.  Here the ugly head of World War I intrudes on this troupe of orphaned lads who yearn for a mother's love and care, one they enjoy on a temporary basis when Peter flies Wendy and her brothers to Neverland to tell them stoires and darn their socks.

For tickets ($10-25), call the Yale Rep at 203-432-1234 or online at www.drama.yale.edu.  Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 8 p.m. at the University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven.

Venture off to Neverland with Peter and his gang and meet Tiger Lily and Captain Hook, fight with swords and croquet clubs, prepare to swallow poison and to walk the plank...and don't forget to clap your hands to prove you believe in fairies.

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