Peter Pan takes audiences to new heights at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Peter Pan takes audiences to new heights at Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Peter Pan (Johnny Shea) leads the Darling siblings (Carter Graf, Elizabeth Stenholt, and Cameron Goode) on a high-flying adventure to Neverland in Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure, directed and choreographed by Amber Mak, in the Courtyard Theater, June 27–August 19, 2018. Photo by Liz Lauren.

 "The reason that Peter Pan has endured for so long is because it inspires imagination, hope, and freedom." Amber Mak

Chicago Shakespeare Theater's (CST) summer productions are always something special. This summer's offering, Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure, is no exception.

Most of us are familiar with the story about the boy who wouldn’t grow up, based on J.M. Barrie's beloved tale, Peter Pan, penned over a century ago but the CST production takes the story to new heights with gorgeous sets, special effects and superb casting--making this Pan, one you won't want to miss.

Peter Pan--A Musical Adventure comes complete with all the usual suspects including Peter, Wendy, the Lost Boys, Tinker Bell, a less scary Captain Hook, his nemesis Tick Tock the Crocodile (or just Crocodile)--all navigating the magical real estate of Neverland.

This new version by Elliot Davis based on the book by Willis Hall, score by George Stiles, lyrics by Anthony Drewe and directed and choreographed by Amber Mak comes wrapped in a concise 75 minutes package--long enough to get it all in but short enough to keep the rapt attention of its target audience--todays's sophisticated tech savvy kids.

Mak, known for bringing vibrant, new perspectives to classic musicals, makes her Chicago Shakespeare directing debut with Pan, after a series of critically acclaimed productions at Paramount Theatre, including The Little Mermaid, Elf the Musical, and Hairspray.

Captain Hook (James Konicek) is startled by the sound of the dreaded ticking crocodile while taunting the captured Lost Boys and Darling siblings, with the help of Starkey (Christina Hall) in Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure, directed and choreographed by Amber Mak, in the Courtyard Theater, June 27–August 19, 2018. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Captain Hook (James Konicek) is startled by the sound of the dreaded ticking crocodile while taunting the captured Lost Boys and Darling siblings, with the help of Starkey (Christina Hall) in Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure, directed and choreographed by Amber Mak, in the Courtyard Theater, June 27–August 19, 2018. Photo by Liz Lauren.

From the moment Peter Pan (Johnny Shea) flies into the Darling nursery, the audience is hooked (pun intended). From the lavishly detailed  Victorian-era London nursery with St Paul's Cathedral in the background to the twinkling skies and Neverland, the setting is magical.

The rest of the cast includes: the Darling children, Wendy the eldest--who challenges Peter Pan and serves as a maternal figure for the Lost Boys performed masterfully by (Elizabeth Stenholt); her younger brother Michael (Carter Graf) and Cameron Goode as John, the middle child.

The role of Peter’s sworn enemy is Captain Hook, performed by James Konicek—who also portrays Mr. Darling. Mrs. Darling is beautifully performed by Roberta Burke. The band of pirates includes Sean Patrick Fawcett as Hook’s right-hand man, Smee—as well as Roberta Burke as Cecco, Jonathan Butler-Duplessis as Bill Jukes, and Christina Hall as Starkey. The troupe of Lost Boys features Colin Lawrence as Curly, Michael Kurowski as Tootles, John Marshall Jr. as Slightly Soiled, and Travis Austin Wright as Nibs. Framing the production as the Storyteller is acclaimed Chicago actress Rengin Altay as the storyteller and the grown-up Wendy. And not to be overlooked, Nana, the dog (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis), couldn't have been cuter.

The talented creative team includes Kory Danielson as Music Director and Matt Deitchman as Orchestrator. Creating the imaginative world of Neverland onstage are Jeff Award-winners Scenic Designer Jeff Kmiec, Costume Designer Theresa Ham, Lighting Designer Greg Hofmann, Sound Designer Ray Nardelli, and Projections Designer Mike Tutaj. Completing the creative team is Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s resident Wig and Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie, who has designed over thirty CST productions. Onstage flying effects are created by ZFX. Serving as dialect coach for this production is Susan Gosdick. Megan E. Farley is the production’s Associate Director and Choreographer.

Guest having s moment with Wendy after the performance. Photo;Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Guest having s moment with Wendy after the performance. Photo;Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The 75-minute production is the perfect introduction to live theater for young audiences--ages 5 and up--and families. After the show, guests are invited to mingle with selected cast members in the lobby for photos and questions.

‘Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure’
★★★
When: Now through August 19
Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand, Navy Pier
Tickets: $22 – $34
Info: www.chicagoshakes.com/peterpan
Running time: 75 minutes, with no intermission

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