Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fly away with Palo Alto Players' 'Peter Pan'

Peter (Corrie Farbstein, left) tells Wendy (Brittney Mignano) about Neverland. (Photo by Joyce Goldschmid)
Palo Alto Players is staging the perennially popular “Peter Pan,” the enchanting story of an orphan boy who can fly but who doesn’t want to grow up. 

In J.M. Barrie’s play, turned into a musical by lyricist Carolyn Leigh and composer Morris Charlap, Peter (Corrie Farbstein) lives in Neverland. He and his effervescent fairy sidekick, Tinker Bell, visit the Darling children in London to retrieve his shadow.

He convinces the oldest, Wendy (Brittney Mignano), to fly with him to Neverland. They’re joined by her brothers, John (Amay Goel) and Michael (Billy Hutton). They really do fly. (Flying effects are by ZFX Inc.)

In Neverland they meet the Lost Boys and experience hair-raising adventures, most of them initiated by Peter’s nemesis, Captain Hook (John Bisceglie), and his band of pirates. Also playing a prominent role are the Warriors, led by Tiger Lily (Catrina Contini).

Directed and choreographed by Janie Scott, the show is full of wonders and imagination. For example, Neverland, not the usual tropical island, is what PAP artistic director Patrick Klein and set designer calls “an alternative, Neo-Victorian world of spare parts and steam-powered ingenuity.”

The show also is filled with fine performances, led by Farbstein as Peter, who sings, dances and acts well.  Also notable is the diminutive Mignano, an adult who’s convincing as Wendy.

Scott’s choreography also is imaginative, especially in “Ugh-A-Wugg,” performed by Peter, the Darlings, the Lost Boys, Tiger Lily and the Warriors.

There’s much for kids to like, especially Nana (Eddie Standifer III), the Darling children’s nurse; and the crocodile that swallowed an alarm clock.

Music director is Lauren Bevilacqua, but the orchestral accompaniment is recorded. 

Costumes are by April Bonasera with lighting by Carolyn A. Foot.

Incidentally, Farbstein is the sister of Amanda Farbstein, who has the female lead in Broadway By the Bay’s “Singin’ in the Rain.” Their parents, Michael and Candy, were BBB mainstays for many years.

Running about two and a half hours with an intermission, “Peter Pan” will continue through Nov. 19 at Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. For tickets and information, call (650) 329-0891 or visit www.paplayers.org.