Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Finding Neverland

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that there have been a whole spate of shows and movies about this Peter Pan character!  Peter and the Starcatcher, Peter Pan Live on NBC, Pan (a movie) and now this audacious project - an adaptation by none other than movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, of the Johnny Depp movie by the same name and the play The Man who was Peter Pan by Allan Knee.

My, oh my.  We seem to be enthralled with Mr. Pan indeed. Audacious?  Indeed.  Successful?  You bet.  This particular flavor of the story is how the author, J.M. Barrie, actually came to write the story and what inspired hm.

Director, Diane Paulus, has her creative stamp all over this production.  Sophisticated, smart, powerful, and sublime are all words that apply here.  Ms. Paulus never fails to waive her magic want and turn what might just be an ordinary production into something magical.

The sublime and talented Matthew Morrison (J.M Barrie) and Kelsey Grammer (Charles Frohman) take on this production with gusto.  Mr. Morrison is endearingly adorable (as usual) and Mr. Grammar, while not a skilled singer, tackles the role with gusto and wild abandon.  The result is a potent production with several moments of sheer magic on stage.  Choreographer Mia Michaels also put her mark of modern dance throughout the evening.  The ever-talented Carolee Carmello (Mrs. du Maurier) delivers her usual outstanding performance as well.   Fill the stage with 4 adorable child actors, a dog, and an ensemble of hunky sometimes pirate dancers, and an orchestration that fills even the furthest nooks of the theater with high fidelity sound - and you've got he makings of a hit on your hands.

The aforementioned magic on stage hit its mark each and every time.  The conclusion of Act One is a crescendo of grand proportions and that's not where the action stops.  The magic continues up to the very last minute of the play with a lot of heart and great theatre in between.  I didn't even mind Mr. Grammar's mugging at a joke in Act Two (despite it's non-dramatic material person-specific reference).

Finding Neverland is a magical evening in a very big theater packed to the gills with lots of kids who are there to swoon over Mr. Morrison (who am i kidding, count me in that crowd too) but who just might learn they actually like the theater too!