BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — Something new is coming to Neverland.
Farmington City’s upcoming youth production of “Peter Pan, the Musical,” running Nov. 14 to 17 at the Community Arts Center, isn’t based on the classic Disney version of the story. The show also has a modernized score, giving the well-loved fantasy world a rhythm the audience can dance to.
“The kids are loving it because it’s not so cutesy,” said Randee Mitchell, the show’s director. “It’s a really fun version.”
According to Mitchell, there are three major stage versions of the story. There’s Disney’s version, which is performed by youth theater groups across the country. The French stage version is the most well-known theatrically, and follows the tradition of casting a woman or girl in the role of Peter Pan. Farmington is basing its show on the British version, which was first performed in London’s West end in the 1994-95 season.
“The storyline is much the same, but it’s got a more modern, up-tempo score,” she said. “There’s electric guitars and saxophones, and we’re playing with that even more by adding some jazz and hip hop.”
Mitchell chose “Peter Pan” for this year’s production, citing her daughter’s suggestion as a major source of inspiration.
“She said ‘What kid doesn’t love pirates, Indians, and mermaids?’” said Mitchell.
There are 62 kids and young adults in the cast, with Collin Shill taking on the title roll. Rhys Roberts plays Wendy, and Alex Southwick and Josh Reid play her brothers John and Michael. Brayden Bybee is Captain Hook, who will be leading a crew of 17 pirates. Other cast members will be playing lost boys, Indians, and the Darling family in London.
“They’re amazing singers, and they have great accents,” said Mitchell. “The entire cast is going to blow people away.”
Pulling together such a large cast can be a challege, but Mitchell has a large crew of fellow volunteers to help her out. The show’s major creative team includes Producer Delain Orth, Choreographer Celesta Stephenson, Creative Director Megan Gibbs and Stage Manager Cheryl Holbrook. In addition, there are plenty of assistants and parent volunteers.
“The ladies are just going to town,” said Mitchell. “So many volunteer hours have been put into this from a production standpoint, and everything looks amazing. The sets are beautiful, and the costumes are all custom-made.”
Becky Simmons, the show’s musical director and another member of the creative team, has been using the experience as a teaching tool for the kids.
“She’s been showing them how to read music, and working on their diction,” said Mitchell. “On top of that, our chorus just sounds amazing.”
Together, she expects the results to be magical.
“I’m in awe of what cast and production team can create together with a little creativity, imagination and some pixie dust,” said Mitchell. “I can’t wait for the audience to see it.”