Finding Neverland Musical, Starring Julian Ovenden and Rosalie Craig, Premieres in U.K. Sept. 22
By Adam Hetrick
Finding Neverland, the new musical that gives wings to the real-life story of J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired the tale of Peter Pan, begins its world-premiere engagement Sept. 22 at the Curve Theatre in Leicester, U.K. Julian Ovenden and Rosalie Craig star.
Tony and Olivier Award winner Rob Ashford (Evita, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof) directs and choreographs the musical that runs through Oct. 18. It has a book by Allan Knee, based on his play The Man Who Was Peter Pan, with a score by Tony Award-nominated Grey Gardens and Far From Heaven writers Scott Frankel and Michael Korie.
The $10 million musical, punctuated with fantasy elements, including flying, is also based on the Academy Award-nominated 2004 film of the same title. Academy and Tony Award winner Harvey Weinstein is producing the U.K. premiere of Finding Neverland, which he is hoping to bring to London's West End in the near future, followed by a Broadway bow.
Ovenden (Death Takes a Holiday) stars as Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, who created Peter Pan, opposite Craig (Ragtime) as Sylvia Liewellyn Davies, the ailing mother whose family touched Barrie uniquely. The cast also features Oliver Boot as Blunt/Hook, Norman Bowman as P.G. Wodehouse, Claire Foster as Mary Barrie, Vince Leigh as Arthur Conan Doyle, Stuart Neal as Elliot, Liz Robertson as Mrs. DuMaurier and Matt Wilman as Edward Elegar.
Completing the cast are Michelle Rancis, Frankie Jenna, Julie Jupp, Gary Watson, Stephen Webb, Zoe Rainey, Harry Polden, Corey Wickendon, Connor Fitzgerald, Worrall Courtney, Edward Bracey, Connor Phillips, Garrett Tennant, Jamieson Hughes, Theo Fewell, Josh Swinney, Harrison Slater and Morgan Heath.
Here's how the musical is characterized: "With his last play a failure, James Barrie is crippled by writer's block and success seems like a far-away land. But then a chance encounter with widow Sylvia Liewellyn Davies and her four young sons sends his heart and imagination soaring, and their friendship gives birth to a magical tale that will live forever."
Watch Ovenden and Craig duet on "In the Blink of an Eye" from Finding Neverland.
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