Wired Again! Cathy Rigby Will Tour as Peter Pan in 2011-12
By Kenneth Jones
Cathy Rigby, the limber actress who will turn 60 in 2012, will return to her signature role of the boy who wouldn't grow up for a new 2011-12 national tour of the musical Peter Pan. It will launch in fall 2011.
In 2005, the former gymnast said she was going to give up the green tights at the end of a tour in 2006, but she did perform the role again in 2008 for Pittsburgh CLO. Rigby is beloved for her work in the musical, and has played thousands of performances, bringing her acrobatic chops (and her boyish size) to the role. She was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1991. The show itself was nominated as Best Revival in 1999. Her Peter Pan played four engagements on Broadway: 1990-91, 1991-92, 1998-99 and spring-summer 1999.
At least one 2011 engagement of her Peter Pan has been announced: Sept. 1-4, 2011, at Wolf Trap's Filene Center in Vienna, VA. Avid Touring is handling the booking of the tour, which launches in fall 2011. No casting or creatives have been announced.
Her last flight of fancy in Peter Pan in New York was Nov. 30-Dec. 30, 2005, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. She said at the time that she wasn't retiring from acting, but she was shedding the shadow of Peter Pan to concentrate on other roles. She and her husband Tom McCoy program plays and musicals at California's LaMirada Theatre, an artistic home for her. She played a number of non-musical roles since then.
The Broadway musical of the James M. Barrie tale has songs by Moose Charlap and Carolyn Leigh, and Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jule Styne.
Based on several chapters that appeared in James M. Barrie's 1902 novel, "The Little White Bird," the play Peter Pan was first performed in London in 1904. The hit musical comedy version of Barrie's classic first appeared in 1954 starring Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard in the leading roles. Comden, Green and Styne penned additional songs for it (including "Hook's Waltz" and "Never Never Land"). The score includes "I Gotta Crow," "Tender Shepherd," "I'm Flyin'," "I Won't Grow Up," "Wendy," "Distant Melody" and more.
The internationally-known tale recounts the adventures of the three Darling children as they fly away from their nursery into the magic and wonder of Never Land. There, they encounter Captain Hook, villainous pirates, a crocodile, Indians and the fairy Tinker Bell.
The most recent Rigby productions of Peter Pan were staged by Glenn Casale and choreographed by Patti Colombo. Their production (which rethought some songs, characters and scenes) was captured for television. The Emmy Award-winning set design was by John Iacovelli. Craig Barna was the musical director. A cast album and a TV soundtrack recording (as well as a DVD) were released.
Olympic gymnast Rigby made her professional debut as Dorothy in a production of The Wizard of Oz. Since that debut, she has starred in productions of Annie Get Your Gun, Meet Me in St. Louis, Paint Your Wagon and They're Playing Our Song. She played The Cat in the Hat in Seussical on Broadway and in its national tour.
The previous national tour of Peter Pan continued to April 2006, when Rigby unhooked the wires and walked on terra firma for good — or so we thought.
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