Johnny Cunningham, Fiddler Who Gave Peter and Wendy a Celtic Lilt, Dead at 46

Obituaries   Johnny Cunningham, Fiddler Who Gave Peter and Wendy a Celtic Lilt, Dead at 46
 
Johnny Cunningham, the fiddler and songwriter who penned the Celtic-kissed score and performed in Peter and Wendy, the Mabou Mines-created stage show that used puppets, shadow and music to stunning effect, died Dec. 15 in New York, the New York Times reported.

Mr. Cunningham was 46 and died of a heart attack at the apartment of his girlfriend, Trisha McCormack.

Mr. Cunningham was a modern fiddle master who brought the sound of his native Scotland to the J.M. Barrie classic tale of "Peter Pan," the boy who never grew up. He penned music and lyrics for the production. Mabou Mines first produced the work in 1996 in San Francisco, and it toured to regional theatres, including the New Victory in New York City.

Peter and Wendy won an Obie Award for Best Production in 1997.

Music from the show was released on CD. The musician writer was born in Portobello, Scotland, and was at ease performing in rock bands and with traditional folk music colleagues.

Mr. Cuningham began playing harmonica at the age of five and later tried piano, but an old fiddle, given to him by his grandmother for his eighth birthday, became his favorite instrument, according to his bio from Alula Records, which released the disc of Peter and Wendy (his work is also on the folk-friendly Green Linnet label). He went on to become a founding member of Silly Wizard in the 1970s.

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