Monday, February 3, 2014



Long before an orphan boy named Peter Pan  flies into the bedroom of the Darling children, there were many adventures in his life. To learn about a young Peter, who didn't even have the privilege of a name and was known simply as The Boy, travel straight to the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts from Tuesday, February 18 to Sunday, February 23 to make his acquaintance and discover his fascinating and complicated history in "Peter and the Starcatcher."

Peter Pan is that stubborn lad who never wants to grow up.  He flies to Neverland and encounters a mean-spirited Captain Hook, a devil of a crocodile, an Indian Princess and a whole passel of Lost Boys who look to him as their fearless leader.  He entices Wendy Darling and her brothers Michael and John to leave their comfy home and learn to fly to Neverland with him.

But what happened before Peter Pan and Wendy meet?  Thanks to a fanciful novel by Dave Barry (yes, the humorist) and Ridley Pearson, and a play by Rick Elice, "Peter and the Starcatcher" will tell the prequel to J. M. Barrie's beloved lad and reveal what took place earlier.  A dozen talented actors will create over a hundred different roles, with a minimum of fuss and props, from pirates to villains, mermaids to Molly, the only female in the cast and clearly the plucky heroine.

Imagine, and you're called upon to rev up your creative juices, a treasure chest that you must guard as a commission from the Queen.  You are Lord Aster
and you are traveling with your young daughter Molly and her nanny, Mrs. Bumbrake, to the Kingdom of Rundoon and it is your responsibility to make sure the chest arrives safely to its destination.  To fool the pirates, a similar chest, filled with sand, is being sent as a decoy but the sinister captain, Bill Slank, uncovers the ruse and switches them.  He is piloting the wreck of a vessel, the Neverland, with Molly and her nanny aboard, while the real treasure was supposed to be on the fastest ship of the fleet, the Wasp, with Lord Aster.

To further his nefarious scheme, Slank purchases a trio of lads, from the Orphanage for Lost Boys, one of whom will later claim the name of Peter.  Watch for a magic amulet that glows when there is danger, a group of mermaids who think they belong in Vaudeville, plots and counter plots to claim and reclaim the treasure, ships that sink, pirates and passengers who go overboard, a quite hungry crocodile Mr. Grin who has a taste for humans, a strange language known only to Dodo birds and a magic material known as starstuff that everyone covets.  And that's just a little appetizer of the plot!

For tickets ($22 and up), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at  Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Let your creative imagination and spirit of adventure soar as this storytelling extravaganza flies free and far on a theatrical experience like no other.

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