Catch the magic of Peter Pan this weekend

"Peter and the Starcatcher" opens April 12 at Burroughs High School

Catch the magic of Peter Pan this weekendBy BRIAN COSNER, News Review Staff Writer

The adventures of Peter Pan, the Boy Who Never Grew Up, and the magical world of Neverland are loved and enjoyed the world over. But every legend has an origin story, and this one is being told on the Burroughs High School Parker Performing Arts Center Stage beginning this weekend.

The BHS Drama Department will present Rick Elice’s “Peter and the Starcatcher,” which opens Friday, April 12. The stage play is an adaptation of the 2004 novel, “Peter and the Starcatchers,” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

Traditionally known for writing in the comedy (Barry) and suspense (Pearson) genres, the two authors crafted a backstory for Peter and other Neverland characters that is as adventurous and thrilling as it is humorous.

The play stars Jacinto Valenzuela, in his first production, as the orphan Peter, senior Maya Reeves as Molly Aster, a lord’s daughter who is every bit as adventurous and competitive as Peter and sophomore Ashton Hess as the flamboyant, but feared, pirate Black ’Stache.

As a newcomer and a freshman, Valenzuela is well cast as a young boy who must find his way to becoming the fearless leader of Neverland’s Lost Boys. Hess, along with senior Jacob Masner as the cruel Captain Bill Slank, dive into their roles as rival seafarers whose scathing insults and witty retorts are as cutting as the weapons they carry.

While I was only privy to a brief preview of the show, the entire ensemble is hard at work to deliver a fast-paced, rollicking good time.

The show’s staging is minimal, with the audience relying on a mix of narration and an on-stage Foley team providing sound effects to envision the high-stakes sea battles and magical, tropical landscape. The set begins with stark-white set pieces, which become “painted” by lighting as the show progresses.

Director Tristan Kratz admitted that the show was about two weeks behind, primarily due to time away following the death of her mother, local resident Carolyn Kratz.

“But knowing these kids, they’ll be ready,” said Kratz. “They’ll be running on pure adrenaline, but they’ll be ready.”

She said she slid more toward a facilitator role rather than a directorial one as the students began taking more responsibility in her absence.

“It’s become a collaborative effort,” she said. “I’m just helping them figure out how to execute their own ideas.”

She added that watching her dedicated students come alive on stage and take ownership of the production was much-needed bright spot this year. The students have dedicated the production to Kratz’s late mother.

Assistant Directors are Rhiannon O’Conner and Chloe Whitnack, who also provide unique musical and technical contributions to the performance. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Additional showings are April 13, 19 and 20. Presale tickets are $10 at Red Rock Books, and at-the-door tickets can be purchased for $12 each.

Story First Published: 2019-04-12