The standing ovation and the superlative words of praise reflected the audience’s appreciation of “Peter Pan,” the most recent play sponsored by Headwaters Council for the Performing Arts at Northland Pines High School. Modeled after the Broadway stage show and directed by Jeffrey Moss, the 20 actors and actresses were wonderfully cast and represented their characters perfectly, whether flying across the stage to Neverland, as lost boys welcoming Wendy as their mother, or portraying pirates and Indians while dancing in intricately choreographed fight scenes.
Brooke Stone portrayed Peter, the boy who never wanted to grow up, with exuberance and energy, using expressive facial expressions to share various emotions and connect with the audience. Stone varied the range of her strong, clear voice to fit her songs, including the happy-go-lucky “I Won’t Grow Up” and the ballad “Wendy.” Wendy was beautifully played by Mollie Vogt-Welch, who showed the character’s desire for adventure and youthful warmth as she played mother to the lost boys. Her developing feelings for Peter were shown as she tried to draw Peter into the role of father. Gary Kimble was outstanding as both Mr. Darling, having difficulty with his tie, and the flamboyant Captain Hook. His mannerisms, facial expressions and voice perfectly depicted every aspect of the fiendish Captain Hook from his evil plan to capture Peter, his fear of the crocodile and his decree to make Wendy walk the plank.
The humorous duet, “Mysterious Lady,” was beautifully performed by Stone (Peter) and Kimble (Hook) whose voices blended in comic enticement. The actors/dancers who played the lost boys, pirates and Indians showed impressive skill as they danced in bright costumes through the introductory scenes and later fight sequences, both on the island and on Hook’s ship. Each one stayed in character, displaying appropriate expressions to reflect their particular traits.
Captain Hook’s next in command, Smee, played by Frank Gabriel, was fun to watch as he used a high voice and silly mannerisms to capture the essence of the gleeful pirate who served Hook. As the leader of the Indian tribe, Brooke Robyn Dairman used her singing and dance skills to perfection to portray the Indian princess character Tiger Lily, particularly in the song “Ugg-a-Wugg” with Peter, the children and other Indians. Adding to the fun were the show’s animals including Nana, the Darlings’ dog, and Neverland’s lion, kangaroo and ostrich appearing in various scenes. The eight-piece professional orchestra, housed in Northland Pines High School’s new orchestra pit, gave a superb performance to support the cast’s various songs as well as providing sound effects, including the tinkling sound to represent Tinker Bell, aptly portrayed by a special light beam dancing around the stage.
The cast’s songs ranged from the energetic and exciting “I’m Flying” to the soft ballad “Tender Shepherd,” the conniving “A Princely Scheme” and the finale, a reflective “Neverland.” Adding to the special performance was a complimentary Afterglow reception hosted by Riverstone Restaurant & Tavern. Jason and Cindy Meinholz and their staff prepared and served 4,000 hors d’oeuvres named to reflect aspects of the show. All those involved in “Peter Pan,” directors, cast, crew and the volunteers who helped to set the stage, contributed to a wonderfully entertaining evening that will be long remembered by those attending the show.
Carolyn Ritter is the Lifestyle editor for the Vilas County News-Review. Prior to moving to the North Woods, she was involved in the production of high schools plays in Minnesota.