Come fly with Wendy and Peter Pan to Neverland
Stagemakers at the J, the Jewish Community Center, Allentown, is presenting “Peter Pan Jr.,” a magical musical filled with mermaids, Indians, sneaky pirates, fairy dust and childrenwho can fly.
John and Michael Darling love listening to their sister, Wendy, tell them stories every night about a boy named Peter Pan who refuses to grow up and lives in Neverland.
Little do they know Peter also listens from outside their window. But, one night when the Darlings’ dog nursemaid Nana grabs Peter’s shadow, he returns to get it back and countless adventures begin.
The musical is based on the 1953 Disney film and J.M. Barrie’s play “Peter Pan.”
Music and lyrics are by a variety of artists including Xavier Atencio, George Bruns, Sammy Cahn, Frank Churchill, Sammy Fain, Winston Hibler, Ray Kelley, Jack Lawrence, Ted Sears, Michael Tumes and Oliver Wallace, with additional music and lyrics by Eric Svejcar and David Zellnik.
“Each cast I work with is different and each show is a different experience,” Director Sarah-Jane Pierce said. She is no stranger to Stagemakers, this being her eighth show as a director or stage manager.
“The cast worked hard to memorize their lines, choreography, and music,” Pierce said. “And the production team truly brought their expertise to the table, helping to bring my vision to life.
“This show includes several imaginary places, and we worked together to bring each one to the stage.”
Music Director Jeff Bowers also commented on the production.
“It has been a pleasure working with such a talented group,” Bowers said, adding this is his first time working with Stagemakers.
Peter Pan is played by Brianna Hoysan of Schnecksville, a junior at Parkland High School.
This is her fourth time performing with Stagemakers.
“Peter is the boy who never grows up,” Hoysan said. “He is youthful and fun, but also careless and tends to show off too much.
“Even though he can also be self-centered, he truly cares for others, especially Tinker Bell.”
Hoysan said Peter is energetic and gets to have a sword fight with Captain Hook.
“No matter whom he meets other than Hook, they somehow end up loving him and enjoy hearing his stories,” Hoysan said.
Ari Johnson of Lower Macungie portrays Tinker Bell.
She is in kindergarten at the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley, Allentown.
Although she attended a Stagemakers Camp last summer, this is her first role in an actual Stagemakers show.
“I like Tinker Bell because as a fairy, she is able to fly, “Johnson said. “She can also make others fly with her fairy dust.”
Amelia Dawson of Fogelsville plays Wendy Darling.
“Wendy is an adventurous, warm-hearted and a mother-like character,” said Dawson, a sixth grader at Orefield Middle School.
This is her fourth production with Stagemakers.
“Wendy is special because she provides a great message: you may want to stay young forever, but growing up can lead to more adventures and opportunities,” Dawson said. “I love playing her because I feel like I relate to her character personally. I have learned more about myself.”
Dawson said learning how to react to fellow cast members was challenging.
“But Stagemakers has become a home away from home,” Dawson said. “I enjoy coming to practice knowing I have a family here.
“I have made many friendships I know I will keep for a long time to come.”
Samson Kroo of South Whitehall plays John Darling.
He is in second grade at JDS and is performing on stage for his first time.
“John is Wendy’s brother and what I call the daring middle child,” Kroo said. “He is a leader and cares a lot about his family.”
Kroo likes being part of several dances in the show.
“One of the most challenging dances we do is called ‘Following the leader,’” Kroo said. “But I am feeling good about it. And the best part about the show is being able to sing.”
According to fellow cast member Eli Fleisch, 8, of South Whitehall, Kroo adjusted to the pressure from being on stage and handles it well.
Sam Ford of Upper Macungie plays Michael Darling. He is a second grader at Cetronia Elementary School, South Whitehall.
“Michael is the youngest character in the show,” Ford said. “He loves his teddy bear and brings it with him where ever he goes. Michael is a very happy and active little boy.”
This is Ford’s first speaking role in a Stagemakers production.
“It has been challenging to memorize all my lines, but the fact I get to have a lot of fun and make friends with my fellow cast is worth it,” Ford said.
Noah Saborsky of Limeport plays the pirate Smee. He is in second grade at Liberty Bell Elementary School, Southern Lehigh. This is his third performance with Stagemakers.
“Smee is Captain Hook’s right-HOOK man,” Saborsky said. “He is very funny and provides a lot of comedy in the show.
“I love my costume, especially Smee’s glasses and bandanna,” Saborsky said. “Not only am I a pirate, but I also get to hold a sword, say pirate words which I don’t use in real life, and go overboard from the pirate ship.
“This role has been challenging because Smee has more lines than any other character I have played before.
“But I have made a ton of friends through all the Stagemakers shows I have been in.”
“Peter Pan Jr.” will be performed 7 p.m. March 2 and 3 at the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley, 702 N. 22nd St., Allentown.
Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 610-435-3571.