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Fly away to Neverland with 'Peter Pan'
Musical starring Cathy Rigby plays in Sacramento through Sunday
TIMES: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; 2 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
WHERE: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento
TICKETS: $19 to $71
CALL: 916-808-5181 or 916-557-1999
A sprinkle of pixie dust and lovely thoughts and you'll fly off to Never Neverland in Broadway Sacramento's "Peter Pan," starring Tony- and Emmy-nominated Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan.
In this retelling of the boy who refused to grow up, the talented Rigby flies the Darling children across the stage and takes the audience on a journey to a golden island filled with adventure, pirates, mermaids, Indians and the Lost Boys.
Based on the enchanting story by J.M. Barrie, director Glenn Casale brings to life the story about a young boy who never ages. Rigby stars as the mischievous Peter Pan, who struts across the nursery of three children: Wendy, John and Michael Darling.
Rigby jives around the stage, scattering pixie dust, moving from object to object — a Peter Pan with ADD — and giving off a friendly but sarcastic vibe. Rigby's past Olympic gymnast history is an obvious asset as she takes on this Peter Pan role with grace and ease. Her flipping and soaring across the stage, even while singing, is impressive, leaving the audience in awe of her own magic.
After waking Wendy (Krista Buccellato), Peter convinces her to come back to Neverland to tell stories and be a mother to him and his band of orphans, the Lost Boys. The two wake up John (Lexy Baeza), then the young Michael (Julia Massey and Sophie Sooter) and finally round up the blinking rainbow-colored light that Peter calls his sassy fairy Tinkerbell.
Peter invites the Darling children to think lovely thoughts and teaches them how to soar, while crooning, "I'm Flying," one of the 16 tunes penned by Moose Charlap with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. They fly off to Neverland — oh the wonder of invisible wires — destined to face the fearsome yet witty Captain Hook (Brent Barrett). The young ones in the audience were appropriately wide-eyed as the actors soared in the air.
Rigby's vocals are powerful and stunning as she opens up and leads the Lost Boys in songs like "Wendy" and "I Won't Grow Up." The Indians, lead by the graceful Tiger Lily (Jenna Wright), incorporate striking modern dance and ballet, especially in the "Indians!" number. Tiger Lily danced and leapt while other Indians climbed a long rope of cloth and floated in it.
Even Hook's clumsy band of pirates engage in a tango in "A Princely Scheme." The song reveals the captain's plans to capture Peter Pan and exact revenge for the youngster's part in crocodile taking his hand as a snack. Patti Colombo's choreography is brilliant, from sword-fighting scenes to the intricate and multifaceted dances of Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, providing for a truly moving show.
John Iacovelli's sets are elegantly appointed, especially the Darling nursery with a visible, blinking starry night above vertically opening wide windows. Neverland's natural landscape of rocks and vines that resemble faces and backgrounds of painted trees with branches that seem to reach out all imply the life of the island itself. The island's big mushroom boasts a removable top, disguising the chimney of the underground home of the Lost Boys.
Rigby has been capturing the attention of audiences young and old with her saucy, energetic Peter Pan since 1998. It's no wonder this classic production of "Peter Pan" will leave you wanting to fly to "the second star to the right and straight on till morning" to experience the wonders of Neverland yourself.