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“Peter Pan” flies high at Music Circus

"Peter Pan" flies high at Music Circus

They might as well change the name of H Street to Broadway this week, since so many of the cast and crew of “Peter Pan” now at Music Circus have credits from the Great White Way.

Director Glenn Casale, choreographer Patti Colombo and flying sequence choreographer Paul Rubin collaborated on the 1998 Broadway revival of the classic J.M. Barrie story about the three Darling children and their encounter with the magical boy who refused to grow up. Paul Schoeffler (a standout as Mr. Darling/Captain Hook) starred in that Tony Award-nominated production, along with Michael Nostrand (Smee) and Kim Arnett (an Indian). They aren’t the only actors with Broadway experience, either.

A quick recap of the plot, for those (very few, I’m guessing) who aren’t familiar with it: One evening, after the Darling children, Wendy (Lori Eve Marinacci), Michael (Joshua Davis) and John (Aidan Winn), have been put to bed, they are visited by a strange young boy named Peter Pan (Jenn Colella), who flies through their bedroom window with the fairy Tinker Bell (a magical combination of light and sound effects). Peter tells them of his home, Neverland, and the motherless Lost Boys who live there. He asks Wendy to be their mother, and after teaching her to fly (a little pixie dust and plenty of happy thoughts), she and her brothers begin their fantastic adventure, which includes encounters with Pirates and Indians — and a crocodile who swallowed Capt. Hook’s hand as well as a clock, the ticking of which can be heard ahead of the croc’s arrival and is enough to send Hook skittering for safety.

This is the most satisfying Music Circus production in recent memory. Everything works brilliantly, from the set (designed by Scott Klier and Jamie Kumpf), the lighting (Jared A. Sayeg) and sound (Joe Caruso Jr. and Robert Sereno) to the acting, singing and dancing.

Colella plays the title role, and she soars in it, literally and figuratively. Yes, she’s wired for flight, but her talent and personality are equally high-flying. The show makes perfect use of the theater’s advanced design, allowing Peter and the children to fly up and around the stage, but also out over the audience. Colella’s a Broadway veteran, too, having recently starred opposite Idina Menzel in the hit “If/Then.”

The opening scene of Act Two, in which Peter, Wendy, the Boys and Indians join Tiger Lily (an indefatigable Desiree Davar) in the song “Ugg-a-Wugg” is the most impressive element of a very impressive show. Tiger Lily and Peter perform an invigorating drum duet, accompanied by the others banging drumsticks on the floor and other objects. It’s so full of energy and executed so perfectly that, on opening night Tuesday, it brought the house down — or rather, up on its feet for a standing ovation.

“Peter Pan” continues through Sunday with performances at 7:30 each evening and matinees at 2 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $40-$83, with all tickets for children age 4-12 priced at $40. Tickets are available by phone at (916) 557-1999, online at Tickets.com, or in person at the theater’s Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H St. For more information visit sacramentomusiccircus.com.

Photo by Kevin Graft
Jenn Colella as Peter Pan, left, and Desiree Davar as Tiger Lily perform a drum duet in “Peter Pan.”

Photos by Kevin Graft

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About the author

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes has masters degrees in English and journalism and is a former National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in popular culture at Stanford University. He has covered Sacramento arts and entertainment for more than 20 years. He currently writes about and reviews theater, dance, music and events in the Sacramento area.

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