Audiences invited to fly away with Peter Pan, April 28-30
Any adult looking to find relief from the daily grind will find a welcome break at the end of this month by visiting with Peter Pan and his friends in Neverland as Northwestern Lehigh Middle School thespians stage the family favorite.
Seventh grader Molly McGorry debuts as the boy who refuses to grow up.
“In the beginning Peter is a little more pushy and kind of like a brat,” said McGorry. “He’s kind of freaked out Wendy saw him crying.”
McGorry easily relates to her character.
“He’s a very free spirit and can do whatever he wants,” she explained.
“I kind of like that. I never want to grow up either, [plus] Peter uses his pixie dust.”
McGorry’s best friend, Kourtney Keim, also a seventh grader, plays Wendy.
“I’m really happy I got [the part of] Wendy,” she said. “I’m already a lot like her. I’m very prim and proper like Wendy is in a way. I also like to sew and I like to talk with a British accent.”
Keim shared insights about her character.
“She’s kind of your classic girl from London at that period of time. But when she meets Peter, she becomes more adventurous and more free spirited and more herself,” Keim said.
“It’s kind of a coincidence that Molly got Wendy and I got Peter,” said McGorry smiling.
“That’s actually the only role I read for. I did like the role of Peter but I wasn’t expecting to get it.”
“It’s really cool we get to hang out a lot more,” said Keim. “Our roles are exactly who we are in real life. I think Wendy and Peter bring out the best in each other.”
Eighth grader Spencer Beidler plays the infamous Captain Hook.
“Hook wants to be the best villain, the best pirate,” Beidler said. “He’s not afraid to be mean and yell and show his superiority. He meets his untimely demise when the alligator who took his hand wants more.”
Beidler said he saw being in “Peter Pan” as a good opportunity as he became interested in acting a few years ago.
“After doing the talent show in fifth grade, I thought ‘Here’s something I’m good at. Let’s pursue this,’” Beidler said. “I expected to get a side character but I never thought I’d get Hook.”
Beidler said he developed a voice that’s “super gravelly and dark” for the audition.
“It’s definitely a challenge [playing] Hook,” he said. “[But] it’s nice to take your personality and completely reverse it for a performance.”
Audiences will leave the play humming some of the memorable songs of the show including “I Won’t Grow Up” and “I’ve Got to Crow.”
For Director Robin Leisher, choosing to put on “Peter Pan Jr.” was mostly a practical decision.
“We don’t have a lot of boys and Peter was meant to be played by a girl,” she said. “This looked like it would be sheer fun. I grew up watching Mary Martin do it on TV.”
“Mary Martin did not do the Disney version of ‘Peter Pan.’
“They rearranged some things and some of the songs are much shorter. This version just came out in the fall of 16.”
This is Co-director Kevin Emens first play in 20 years.
“I directed back in college when I was a theater student. As part of that [experience] I had to direct a few plays,” Emens said.
The two directors are enjoying working with the middle school actors.
“I was painfully shy as a kid and wished I could do something like this,” said Leisher. “I’m in awe when the kids audition.”
“I love working with the kids,” said Emens. “It’s a lot of fun and definitely keeps you young at heart.” Coincidentally, this is one of the major themes of Peter Pan, Jr.
“Adults and children will all like it because the children [on stage] are living their childhood,” McGorry.
“The message [of the play] is to embrace childhood and to not be in such a rush to grow up,” said Leisher. “You’re going to be an adult for a long time.”
“It’s kind of a very magical play,” Keim said. “In Neverland you can never grow up. Just the idea of it. It’s just magical.”
“Peter Pan Jr.” will be presented 7 p.m. April 28 and 29; and 2 p.m. April 30 in the middle school auditorium.
Tickets will be available at the door.