The heartwarming classic “Peter Pan” is making its way to Bloomington for the holiday season.
Cardinal Stage Company's production of the musical “Peter Pan” premiered Dec. 15 and runs through Dec. 30 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
True to the classic story, “Peter Pan” begins when its namesake visits the children of the Darling family in the night, claiming to be from a magical place called Neverland. With the aid of fairy dust, Peter and the children fly off on an adventure.
Once they get to Neverland, they must work together to defeat the evil pirate, Captain Hook.
“Their journey of limitless imagination and self-discovery captivates audiences of all ages, reminding the child within all of us to ‘never grow up,'” according to the “Peter Pan” press release.
The show focuses on age and not wanting to grow up, Olivia LaBarge, the actress playing Wendy, said.
“The story really plays on the friendship and the respect between Wendy and Peter,” LaBarge said. “Wendy knows how Peter is, and that he doesn’t want to grow up, and while respecting that, they still play family. Nobody wants to grow up, but it just sort of happens to us and we can’t be like Peter, who just stays a kid forever and stays in Neverland.”
LaBarge said the Victorian Christmas nostalgia was another strong focus of the production.
“It’s just so magical and the Christmas spirit is alive,” LaBarge said. “The Darling family is period appropriate for the Victorian era, the whole thing is kind of a play on nostalgia for Christmas time.”
The show features flying, magic and a narrator who sets the scene and atmosphere in a storybook style. Along with these flashy elements, characters develop emotionally throughout the show and their relationships change because of it.
“This show is often done in a surface level, not delving too much into the seriousness of the emotional aspect of it,” LaBarge said. “Our director is focusing on the emotional aspect of it. It’s really geared towards both the adult audience and the child audience.”
This adaptation of “Peter Pan” premiered on Broadway in 1954. The show features Broadway musical numbers and dancing.
Much of the music is for storytelling or audience engagement, LaBarge said.
“There are some ballads, there are some up-tempo pieces,” LaBarge said. “Most of them are to tell a story, or they’re to get the audience interested.”
In “Never Never Land,” Peter Pan describes his home and the magical aspects of it, and in “Distant Melody,” he sings of a heartwarming song he heard long ago and sometimes thinks about as he falls asleep.
“The musical numbers compliment the rest of the story,” LaBarge said.
She said overall, “Peter Pan” will make a lot of people’s holidays a little brighter.
“You’ll have moments where your heart kind of aches and you’ll have moments where you’re so excited,” LaBarge said. “If you want a feel-good show, it’ll be here for you.”
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