25th annual putnam county spelling bee, addams family, alex timbers, avant-garde, Broadway, brooks atkinson, celia keenan-bolger, christian borle, Drag, ensemble, jersey boys, legally blonde, les miserables, mary poppins, mermaids, midtown, Music, musical, NBC, New York, New York Theater Workshop, ninja turtle, NYC, NYTW, Peter and the Starcatcher, Peter Pan, play, rick elice, roger rees, seussical, smash, theater
By Spencer Howard
I had the pleasure of getting to see Peter and the Starcatcher last year when it was a small, lower east side, New York Theater Workshop hit play. So I was a little nervous to hear that it was coming to Broadway. Not because I didn’t believe in the piece, but because shows have a tendency to loose their novelty during a transfer to midtown (I’m talking to you Seussical). I was beyond relieved to walk into the Brooks Atkinson Theater to find a false procenium cutting the size of the stage down to a size that resembled something closer to the theater where the show was developed. Otherwise, the stage was going to swallow the production whole like a huge crocodile. I actually spent the entirety of intermission looking at the range of items used to adorn the proscenium; from kitchen utensils to Ninja Turtle action figures! If you see the show, be sure to check it out.
I was so happy that this play with music made it to Broadway because I don’t believe that shows like this often make it past the workshop stage anymore. To put it simply, this show runs that tight line between avant-garde theater, slapstick comedy and ensemble collaboration that makes you feel like you are witnessing something truly unique in our current Broadway climate. I cannot overstate how much I love watching Celia Keenan-Bolger (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Les Miserables) in this show. She is truly alive in her character of Molly every single nanosecond that she is on that stage and you can’t take your eyes off of her. On a stage full of men towering over her, she is truly a giant in this piece.
Christian Borle (NBC’s Smash, Mary Poppins, Legally Blonde: The Musical) as the diabolical Black Stache is so funny and has so much fun with his character on stage, it is hard not to root for him (despite being the antagonist). Rick Elice’s (Jersey Boys, The Addams Family) book and Roger Rees & Alex Timbers’ direction allow every cast member to be utilized as tools to tell the story of how Peter Pan came to exist. This beautifully ensemble night of theater has all the comedy, tragedy and male mermaids in drag that you could possibly want from you Saturday evening!