Alex Timbers, Roger Rees, Rick Elice Give Peter Pan an Origin in Starcatcher, Opening March 9

The New York Theatre Workshop production of Peter and the Starcatcher, telling the origin of kid-lit hero Peter Pan in a bare-bones staging that encourages the audience to use its imagination, opens March 9 following previews from Feb. 18. Next to Normal's Adam Chanler-Berat plays Peter.

Adam Chanler-Berat and Christian Borle
Adam Chanler-Berat and Christian Borle (Photo by Joan Marcus)

The creative triumvirate behind the new playful play includes co-directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers and Tony Award-nominated writer Rick Elice ( Jersey Boys), who draw on the bestselling kids' book, "Peter and the Starcatchers" by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

The core character — Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn't grow up — first sprang from the imagination of Scottish writer J.M. Barrie more than 100 years ago. He's been seen in plays, animated films, live-action flicks and musicals ever since.

This non-musical project was commissioned by Disney Theatrical Productions. The run continues to April 3 at NYTW's home in the East Village, the same venue where Rent was born. 

In Peter and the Starcatcher, according to NYTW, "a company of 12 actors plays some 50 characters — all on a journey to answer the century-old question: How did Peter become The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up?"

Read what Rees, Elice and Timbers have to say in a special Playbill.com feature about Peter and the Starcatcher (yes, the play has a single Starcatcher as opposed to the novel's plural title). The cast also features 2007 Tony nominee Christian Borle ( Angels in America, Legally Blonde, Spamalot, Mary Poppins) as Black Stache and 2005 Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger ( 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Les Miserables, Bachelorette) as Molly; with Teddy Bergman ( Hell House) as Fighting Prawn; Arnie Burton ( The 39 Steps, Amadeus) as Mrs. Bumbrake; Matt D'Amico ( Fizz) as Slank and Hawking Clam; Brandon Dirden ( Enron, Edgewise) as Captain Scott; Carson Elrod ( Reckless, Wedding Crashers) as Prentiss; Kevin Del Aguila (book writer of Altar Boyz) as Smee; Greg Hildreth ( Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson) as Alf; Karl Kenzler ( Mary Poppins, Twelve Angry Men) as Lord Aster; and David Rossmer ( Fiddler on the Roof, Don't Quit Your Night Job) as Ted.

Peter and the Starcatcher features music by Wayne Barker; movement by Steven Hoggett ( American Idiot); and music direction by Marco Paguia. The creative team also includes set designer Donyale Werle; costume designer Paloma Young; lighting designer Jeff Croiter; and sound designer Darron L West.

Elice is co-writer of the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys and The Addams Family. Actor-director-writer Rees won a Tony for his performance in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and starred on TV's "Cheers." Obie Award-winning director Alex Timbers is the founder and artistic director of Les Freres Corbusier, and is the Drama Desk Award-winning writer-director of the Broadway musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and director of Broadway's The Pee-Wee Herman Show.

Peter and the Starcatcher plays NYTW at 79 East 4th Street, between Second Avenue and Bowery, Tuesday at 7 PM; Wednesday through Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 3 PM and 8 PM; Sunday at 2 PM and 7 PM. There will be a special matinee on Wednesday, March 23 at 2 PM.

Tickets are $70 and may be purchased online at www.ticketcentral.com, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or by phoning Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200. For more information, visit www.nytw.org.

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NYTW makes theatre accessible to everyone with its $20 CheapTix Sundays program. A dedicated number of tickets for Sunday evening performances at 7 PM can be purchased in person at the NYTW box office for only $20. Tickets may be purchased in advance, payable in cash only and are available to all audience members.

NYTW also has $20 student tickets available for all performances. Student tickets may be purchased in advance from the NYTW box office with valid student identification.

The NYTW box office is open 1 PM to 6 PM, Tuesday through Saturday.

Celia Keenan-Bolger (center) and cast in the Off-Broadway production
Celia Keenan-Bolger (center) and cast in the Off-Broadway production (Photo by Joan Marcus)