Posted in aging, family, family comedy drama, Kathleen Chalfant, Peter Pan, Playwrights Horizons, Sarah Ruhl

Growing Up

Wicked BwayRondi Reed
Kathleen Chalfant & Ron Crawford in For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday Photo by Joan Marcus.

There are those who proclaim that “age is just a number” and trill about being “young at heart.”

Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie’s enduring and oft-Disney-fied character, is the poster boy for this way of looking at life.

Others find that hitting the BIG 4-0, 5-0, or 6-0 is fraught with crises, both midlife and beyond.

Wicked BwayRondi Reed
Lisa Emery & Kathleen Chalfant. Photo by Joan Marcus

Sarah Ruhl’s new play, in a New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons through October 1st, For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday upends the famous meme of eternal youth that Peter evokes. It is also a tribute and a present to her mother, who like the titular character in Ruhl’s play performed the role in their hometown theater.

Wicked BwayRondi Reed
David Chandler, Daniel Jenkins, Kathleen Chalfant, Lisa Emery & Keith Reddin. Photo by Joan Marcus.

 

Of course, Peter Pan and the idea of not growing up– or, rather, not becoming a grown up– has appeal for children as well. For adults, the appeal may have something to do with never having to face mortality. This is a conclusion that her brother Jim (David Chandler)  suggests to Ann (Kathleen Chalifant) in For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday .

For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday is a comedy drama about mortality, maturity, and family. It is written in varying rhythms, as if the play itself were a living entity. Under Les Waters’ direction, For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday rolls with a familiarity of shared memories as the siblings, Ann, John (Daniel Jenkins), Michael (Keith Reddin), Jim, Wendy (Lisa Emery) sit at their father’s (Ron Crawford) deathbed.

It is a charming and philosophical play, acted with a spontaneous ease by a cast that seems comfortably to interact as if they were family. There is music (including some original) for which Bray Poor and Charles Coes are responsible and which adds to the appeal of For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday. David Zinn, who has a way with designing homey homes in small settings, delivers a reliable scenic design; Kristopher Castle’s costumes are simple and homey as well. The flying effects are well-timed by ZFX, Inc. Since the story of Peter Pan requires that the family have a dog, a special thanks to Macy for his understated participation in the production.

For more information and tickets, please visit @PHnyc.

 

Posted in Annie Get Your Gun, Cole Porter, Mary Martin, Noel Coward, Oklahoma, Peter Pan, Rodgers and Hammerstein, The York Theatre Company, TV

Remembering Peter Pan

Mary Martin immortalized the boy who wouldn’t grow up when her Peter Pan flew across television screens in a televised broadcast in 1955, 1956 and 1960 of her Broadway hit.

Emily Skinner, Lynne Halliday, and Cameron Adams in the York Theatre Company world premiere production of the new musical revue, Inventing Mary Martin, conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, with music supervision and arrangements by David Krane, co-direction and choreography by Bob Richard and music direction by Lawrence Goldberg. The cast also features Jason Graae with Bob Renino on bass and Perry Cavari on drums. Now in performance through May 25 at York Theatre Company’s home at Saint Peters. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.

“Inventing Mary Martin,” a world premiere conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, is a musical revue about the titular star’s career.  The York Theatre production, through May 25th also touches lightly on her life. Mary Martin went from a small Texas town to Hollywood and on to Broadway and London stages. She was the toast of the town in any number of hits. 
Cameron Adams and Jason Graae in the York Theatre Company world premiere production of the new musical revue, Inventing Mary Martin, conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, with music supervision and arrangements by David Krane, co-direction and choreography by Bob Richard and music direction by Lawrence Goldberg. The cast also features Lynne Halliday and Emily Skinner with Bob Renino on bass and Perry Cavari on drums. Now in performance through May 25 at York Theatre Company’s home at Saint Peters. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.


Of course, she also had her share of misses, most famously in passing on the musical which came to be named “Oklahoma.”  
Emily Skinner, Lynne Halliday, Cameron Adams and Jason Graae in the York Theatre Company world premiere production of the new musical revue, Inventing Mary Martin, conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, with music supervision and arrangements by David Krane, co-direction and choreography by Bob Richard and music direction by Lawrence Goldberg. Now in performance through May 25 at York Theatre Company’s home at Saint Peters. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.

The talented cast recreating some of the songs along Mary Martin’s path include Cameron Adams, who sings and taps to perfection, Jason Graae as host and narrator, Lynne Halliday, and Emily Skinner. The latter is tasked with singing “Swatting the fly,” the big number from the show Martin, and her husband Richard Halliday, chose for her instead of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic show. 
Emily Skinner in the York Theatre Company world premiere production of the new musical revue, Inventing Mary Martin, conceived, written and directed by Stephen Cole, with music supervision and arrangements by David Krane, co-direction and choreography by Bob Richard and music direction by Lawrence Goldberg. The cast also features Cameron Adams, Jason Graae, and Lynne Halliday with Bob Renino on bass and Perry Cavari on drums. Now in performance through May 25 at York Theatre Company’s home at Saint Peters. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.

The musical arrangements, by David Krane, of classic tunes by the likes of Noel Coward, Cole Porter, and so forth, are delivered by an  off-stage trio, led by Lawrence Goldberg on the piano, with Perry Cavari on percussion and Bob Renino on bass. 

“Inventing Mary Martin” is a tuneful and well-sung remembrance of the much-awarded star that informs rather than engages. 

For more information about “Inventing Mary Martin,” and the York Theatre Company, please visit  http://www.yorktheatre.org.
Posted in classic, comedy-drama, JM Barrie, Neverland, Peter Pan, satiric, two one-act plays, witty

A Trip To "Neverland" In Long Pants

Bradford Cover as Sir Harry and Rachel Botchan as Kate in “The Twelve Pound Look” from  The Pearl’s This Side Of Neverland. Photo by Al Foote III.

If it weren’t for Walt Disney, the flying, Tinker Bell and Captain Hook, “Peter Pan” would be widely recognized as the adult fairytale it truly is. Children for the most part aren’t that interested in not growing up.

Sean McNall as Charles and Rachel Botchan as Mrs. Page  in  “Rosalind” from  This Side of Neverland. Photo by Al Foote III.

In J.M. Barrie’s two one-act plays, capping the 29th season of the Pearl Theatre Company as “This Side Of Neverland,” and playing through May 19th, the tales are definitely for grown-ups.

J.M. Barrie (Sean McNall), narrating with a deep Scots brogue and a very merry twinkle, is the glue that binds “Rosalind” with “The Twelve Pound Look” in “This Side of Neverland.” The Pianist (Carol Schultz) leads a mostly failed (through no fault of hers) audience sing-along to aid in the transition between the acts.

Extended to May 26th
Rachel Botchan as Kate and Vaishnavi Sharma as Lady Sims in “The Twelve Pound Look “ from This Side Of Neverland at the Pearl Theatre. Photo by Al Foote III.

The production under J.R. Sullivan’s direction strikes the charming note of Edwardian celebration. J.M. Barrie makes mischief in the neatly-drawn, sweetly satirical two parts of “This Side Of Neverland;”although the little plays feature adult-language and adult-situations, “This Side Of Neverland”gets its PG rating. Of course, youngsters will not appreciate its mature wit nor its intelligent wisdom..

Sean McNall as Charles in “Rosalind,” the opening act of This Side Of Neverland. Photo by Al Foote III.

In the excellent small ensemble, Rachel Botchan is as delightful as Kate, the escaped wife in “The Twelve Pound Look,” as she is as the aging-ageless ingenue in “Rosalind.” Sean McNall is equally excellent in all the roles he undertakes, here as Barrie, and then as the boyish Charles, and the reserved slightly supercilious butler Tombes.

For more about The Pearl Theatre Company, and “This Side Of Neverland,” please go to www.pearltheatre.org