Peter Pan Is Back! Starcatchers Workshop, With Borle, Elrod, Green, Begins in CA

By Kenneth Jones
February 13, 2009

La Jolla Playhouse's public workshop production of the new play Peter and the Starcatchers, featuring Broadway's Carson Elrod, Christian Borle and Celia Keenan-Bolger — and newcomer Adam Green as Peter Pan — begins Feb. 13 in California.

Alex Timbers and Roger Rees co-direct the fantastical new show written by Jersey Boys' Tony Award-nominated co-writer Rick Elice. The new play with music explains the origin of J.M. Barrie's boy hero of Neverland — before his adventures with Wendy Darling and her brothers.

As part of La Jolla's Page to Stage workshop program, which makes performances open to the public but not subject to review by critics, Peter and the Starcatchers will play through March 8 at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre at La Jolla Playhouse.

*

Based on the best-selling novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatchers, according to La Jolla, "dares to tell the real story of precisely how a desperate orphan in Victorian England became The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up. It's a tale that travels halfway round the world and straight up to the stars. It's a comedy that takes aim at social injustice. It's a romance of young heroes who risk everything for the sake of doing right. It's an exposé of extravagant villains possessed of a single-minded ferocity from which no good shall ever spring. In short, it's an awfully big adventure."

Peter and the Starcatchers is presented by La Jolla Playhouse by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions.

Choreography is by Kelly Devine and music is by Wayne Barker.

Green (of Off-Broadway's Election Day, All This Intimacy and None of the Above) will play Peter. Keenan-Bolger (a Tony nominee for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) will play Molly. Tony nominee Borle, who starred in Legally Blonde and Spamalot, will play Black Stache. Carson Elrod, of Broadway's Reckless and Noises Off will be Lost Boy Prentiss.

The troupe also includes David Rossmer (Broadway's Fiddler on the Roof, Titanic) as the "ever-peckish" Lost Boy Teddy; Andrew McGinn (The Coast of Utopia) as Slank; John G. Preston as Lord Aster; Greg Hildreth as the good-hearted Alf; Teddy Bergman as Fighting Prawn; Ron Choularton as the merciless Smee; Maggie Carney as Mrs. Bumbrake; Irungu Mutu as Ammm; Charlie Reuter as Captain Scott; Jared Dagar as Hawking Clam; Kevin Johnston as Lost Boy Jim; and Johnny-Wu as Mullins.

The creative team for Peter and the Starcatchers includes Jeff Croiter (lighting designer), Paloma Young (costume designer), Neil Patel (set designer), Phil Allen (sound designer), Clifford Schwartz (production stage manager), Marco Paguia (musical director/conductor), Adrienne Campbell-Holt (assistant director), George T. Ye (fight director), Ken Cerniglia and Gabriel Greene (dramaturgy), Peter J. Davis (production manager) and Dana I. Harrel (associate producer).

Playwright Elice co-wrote Jersey Boys (a La Jolla Playhouse world premiere and winner of the 2006 Tony Award as Best Musical) with Marshall Brickman. Elice and Brickman also wrote Turn of the Century, directed by Tommy Tune (aiming for Broadway), and The Addams Family (planned for a spring 2010 bow on Broadway). Along with Roger Rees, Elice wrote the popular thriller, "Double Double" (translated to 16 languages).

Rees (director) served as the artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival from 2005-2007. As the associate artistic director of Bristol Old Vic Theater from 1984-1985, he directed numerous productions including Julius Caesar, Turkey Time and John Bull. Other credits include Red Memories (New York Stage and Film); Mud, River, Stone (Playwrights Horizons); The Merry Wives of Windsor, Love's Labour's Lost (Old Globe Theatre); Arms and the Man (Roundabout); Here Lies Jenny (Zipper Theater, Post Street Theater) and more. As an actor, he is widely known for his work in Nicholas Nickleby on stage, and TV's "The West Wing" and "Cheers."

Timbers (director) is an Obie Award-winning writer-director and artistic director of Les Freres Corbusier. Recent directing credits include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Center Theatre Group), Gutenberg! The Musical! (Drama Desk nomination - Best Director of a Musical), Hell House (Drama Desk nomination - Unique Theatrical Experience), A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant (Obie Award, two Garland Awards including Best Director), Boozy, Heddatron and more.

La Jolla Playhouse's Page To Stage new play development program began in 2001 "to facilitate the development of new plays and musicals, offering audiences the rare opportunity to experience the 'birth' of a play and take part in its evolution."

This production "will feature minimal sets and costumes, and will be revised throughout its entire process, including performances." After the performance, audience feedback sessions "will provide insight and suggestion for both the creative team and the actors.

Visit www.lajollaplayhouse.org.