Omahans can travel to the enchanted world of Neverland, where pirates rule, mermaids sing and a boy can choose to never grow up, in The Rose Theater's production of Peter & The Starcatcher.
The play, which broke Tony award nomination records and went on to win five Tony awards runs Dec. 4-27 at the theater downtown.
The play follows the origin story of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, as he and orphan boys take to the high seas encountering Lost Boys, pirates, fighting mollusks and mermaids. Peter & The Starcatcher is a prequel to the classic story of Peter Pan, about to board a ship called The Neverland. The boys have been plucked from St. Norbert's Home for Lost Boys to serve onboard the ship. Onboard, the boys meet 13-year-old Molly Aster, a brave and plucky girl on a mission to protect a mysterious substance called "starstuff." It is not long before The Neverland is being chased by pirates, eventually coming a-ground on a mysterious, uncharted island inhabited by hostile natives called Mollusks, with pirates still in pursuit. As Molly and the boys work to protect the starstuff, the many pieces of the Peter Pan legend fall into place. They survive a capsized ship, escape a crocodile cage and repeatedly outsmart their nemeses. Along the way Molly learns what it means to grow up while the boy without a name takes up residence on this island where dreams are born and time is never planned - the island where that nameless orphan is eventually christened Peter Pan.
"The journey Peter takes in this show is really powerful," says Gutschick. "This is a kid who has been denied a childhood, and in the end, he finds one that is never-ending. By the end of the show, we are left with a blueprint for the legend of Peter Pan. It leaves all kinds of Easter eggs as to who these characters will become," says Gutschick.
You'll also learn the story of how Captain Hook is born. The villain Black Stache, played by Bill Grennan, is a flamboyant pirate with plenty of panache and a moustache to match. While the entire show is filled with witticisms and wisecracks, Black Stache delivers a multitude of puns, anachronisms and double entendres that will leave audiences rolling in the aisles. All ages will find something to enjoy with the show's humor, with plenty of slapstick comedy to entertain the youngest family members and an abundance of elbow-nudging, tongue-in-cheek innuendo that will have the quickest wits chuckling.
Stache's silly sidekick, Smee, is played by Rose artist educator Kevin Ehrhart. Other Rose Theater veterans fill the leading roles of the show The play by Rick Elice is based on the book, Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry (the well-known humorist whose column runs in the Washington Post) and Ridley Pearson (who may be best known to Rose audiences for his Kingdom Keepers series of books about children saving the Disney parks from destruction by the movies' villains).
This prequel to the story of Peter Pan has been winning the hearts of both adults and kids since it first appeared on Broadway in 2012. It earned the most Tony nominations of any play in history -- nine. The play received five Tony awards at the ceremony on June 10, 2012.
Though not a musical, the show does have a few songs interspersed throughout the production which were written by Wayne Barker.
"We are excited to bring this show to Omaha and for the opportunity to do something very fresh and original. This is a show that not only challenges us as artists, but also challenges the audience. It is a show that engages the imaginations of adults as well as children," says Rose artistic director Matthew Gutschick.
Peter & The Starcatcher runs Dec. 4-27, with performances on Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. There will be no show on Friday, Dec. 25. Interpretation for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing will be offered on Saturday, Dec. 19. The Rose suggests this Peter Pan backstory will be best appreciated by children 10 and older. It is two hours long with an intermission. Tickets are $25 for main floor and $20 for balcony seats.