Can He Fly? Disney and La Jolla Will Test Wings of Starcatchers — a Peter Pan Prequel

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28 Jul 2008

Roger Rees
Roger Rees
Photo by J. T. MacMillan
La Jolla Playhouse, by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, will present a developmental run of Peter and the Starcatchers, billed as a prequel to the story of Peter Pan, in winter 2009.

The new play by Rick Elice, directed by Roger Rees and co-directed by Alex Timbers, will be part of La Jolla Playhouse's Page to Stage program, the same program that launched The Farnsworth Invention, Zhivago, the Tony Award-winning 700 Sundays and I Am My Own Wife, which went on to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Based on the popular novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatchers will play La Jolla Playhouse's Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, in California, from Feb. 13-March 8, 2009. No cast has been announced.

According to La Jolla notes, "Peter and the Starcatchers reveals the wonderful story that precedes J. M. Barrie's beloved 'Peter Pan.' Young orphan Peter and his mates sail aboard the Never Land in a high seas adventure, battling pirates to keep secret a mysterious and dangerous cargo."

"I'm really thrilled to have Roger Rees and Alex Timbers working on this project and at La Jolla Playhouse for the first time," stated artistic director Christopher Ashley, "And of course we're delighted to have Rick Elice back. Page to Stage will provide Peter and the Starcatchers' artistic team with nightly feedback from the audience as they rehearse and refine the production throughout the run."



"La Jolla really knows how to encourage everyone who works in the theatre — from the directors to the writers to the actors and the entire creative team, to the producers, to the interns," stated writer Elice, who co-wrote Jersey Boys. "I've been the beneficiary of that support on Jersey Boys, and I can't wait to come back to the Playhouse for Peter. It feels just like coming home."

"Ever since I first read the unpublished galley back in 2004, I have hoped to bring this beautiful story to life," stated Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Productions. "I have always admired the wonderful work that has emanated from La Jolla Playhouse, particularly their prestigious Page to Stage program. I am supremely honored to have Peter take his next steps on their stage."

According to the resident not-for-profit, Page to Stage, now in its seventh year, is La Jolla Playhouse's "signature new development program in which audiences experience the 'birth' of a play. Throughout the rehearsals and run of the show, the playwright and director make constant changes in response to audience reactions and direct feedback."

Rees is former artistic director of Williamstown Theatre Festival and a respected actor and director attached to such varied projects as Here Lies Jenny, "Cheers," "The West Wing" and the RSC's acclaimed production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Timbers is the downtown Manhattan director known for staging and conceiving such works as Heddatron, Hell House, Boozy and A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. He is artistic director of the troupe Les Freres Corbusier. He also wrote and directed Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

Tickets for Peter and the Starcatchers will go on sale in September. Performance times will be Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 PM; Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sundays at 7:30 PM. Matinees will be on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 PM. For information, call (858) 550-1010 or visit www.lajollaplayhouse.org.