March 18th, 2011 by Karen
Last weekend, I was transported through a starry sky to the faraway shores of Never Land… No, not literally, of course! But I DID attend a talk at the New York Public Library about two stage shows based on the Peter Pan story.
Peter Play #1: Peter and the Starcatcher
Based on: The book Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The guests of honor: Rick Elice (who wrote the play) and Ridley Pearson (who wrote the original book)
Peter Play #2: Peter and Wendy
Based on: The book Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie (now published as Peter Pan)
The guests of honor: Julie Archer and Liza Lorwin (co-creators of the play)
I haven’t seen either of these shows, but after learning all about them at this event, you can bet I’ll be booking my seats soon!
Here are some of the behind-the-scenes factoids I found out:
Peter and the Starcatcher
For the show, they made “Starcatcher” singular even though the book title says “Starcatchers” plural. Why? Because the focus is on Molly as THE most important Starcatcher, and her friendship with Peter. Rick Elice (the playwright) also called Molly the true heroine of the story and said, “The boy learns to be a hero by watching the girl.” This being Women’s History Month, I pumped my fist in solidarity when I heard that! Not really… But I did it in my mind!
In the show, they also completely took out the explanation of why Peter will stay young forever. If you’ve read the book, then you know that’s a pretty big deal. But apparently, the end of the show works without it. This I gotta see…
Speaking of differences between the book and the show, it sounds like there are LOTS — and yet, author Ridley Pearson loves it! Here’s what he had to say about how his original book was adapted for the stage:
Peter and Wendy
Whereas Peter and the Starcatcher is quite different from the book, there's one area where Peter and Wendy wanted to be very accurate: the costumes! J.M. Barrie wrote the original story for a family of boys he knew, and they all used to dress up as the characters and play around the house. Apparently, the folks behind Peter and Wendy studied photos of the boys and based the show's costumes on what the boys were wearing!
Speaking of the look of the play, originally the set designers wanted to make the backgrounds seem like they were from a giant pop-up book. They changed their concept as they went along, but the two co-creators at this event reported that they still see the pop-ups when they watch the show. Watch the trailer and see if you agree:
Intrigued? Well, if you live in New York, then you can get yourself a ticket to visit Never Land! Peter and the Starcatcher is playing at the New York Theatre Workshop now, and Peter and Wendy is coming to The New Victory Theater in May.
If you don't live in NY, never fear — supposedly, there's a movie version of Peter and the Starcatchers in the works. According to online reports, it's been in progress for a loooooooong time and may not come out for years, but that's okay, right? Like Peter, we'll just never grow up! 🙂