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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Peter Pan at Sage

Russell Sage College in Troy just announced their production of "Peter Pan" currently playing at the schools Little Theatre has added another show to the run. I saw it over the weekend and my opinion is they could have added another weekend or two and it would sell out.

This is a fun production that offers well-sung musical numbers, energetic dance sequences, a couple of great performances, good ensemble work and a number of endearing performance by young kids from the community.

"Peter Pan" runs tonight (Friday), Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Another show has been added on Friday evening Oct. 8.

"Peter Pan" is that rare thing - a commercial hit at a local college campus as every show has played to capacity audiences. I like that. For some reason, the community-at-large does not take advantage of things offered at area schools and this work is an example of what people are missing throughout the year at local colleges.

Certainly the world of mouth on campus is drawing students but I think it is the title more than anything else that is the draw for off-campus audiences. "Peter Pan" is a true family show.

To keep myself a member-in-good-standing in the National Cynic Club, I claim not to understand the appeal of "Peter Pan." That is until I see a production. Then I realize (again) it is a fable that appeals to all ages. I thought the fun of the story stopped when you left high school, but judging by the response of the audience on opening night - for sure it appeals to college-age females, young kids and cynical old men.

Like the circus, "Peter Pan" appeals to children of all ages. There are some people who grow up by the time they are twelve. For the rest of us, we will be told to grow-up for our entire lives. And most of us - like Peter - will refuse the command.

Though Peter is the focus of the story, I think the genius of the tale is Captain Hook. Hook is a terrible man but instead of a Bogeyman, he is comical in his intent to kill Peter, destroy the group of Lost Boys and rid the world of Tiger Lilly's band of Indians.

Indeed, while Sage student Sara Curtis is a delightful and believeable Peter, it is David Girard's performance of Hook that makes the show so much fun. Girard is a professional actor who is participating in the school's Male Acting Apprentice Program (MAAP). His experience and talent elevates the good work on stage and adds a comfort level to the work that is picked-up by the entire cast.

Another member MAAP, Brian Sheldon is very funny as Smee - Hook's pirate sidekick. The two make a delightful comedy team that never goes too far in their search for laughs. The discipline shown throughout the production is just one of the many things director Michael Musial brings to the table.

And yes there is flying. A spoiler alert: you do see the wires.

But it doesn't make any difference. Just as you clap to save Tinkerbell's life and in so doing admit to believing in fairies, when Peter, Wendy, John and Michael lift off the ground to go to Neverland you believe they are flying.

That's the magical charm of Peter Pan. For two hours you believe in flying, fairies, funny pirates and most of all you believe you never have to grow up.

For show and ticket information call 244-2248


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