Pure Starstuff at Portland Playhouse
Photo Credit: Laura Domela
From April 27-May 29, Portland Playhouse sets the course and hoists the main sail for Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher with all the cleverness, creativity and chutzpah you’ve come to expect from the “little theatre that could” nestled in North Portland’s King neighborhood.
This swashbuckling, family-friendly prequel to Peter Pan takes the audience from the brig on a pirate ship to mermaids’ coves with a little song, a little dance, a little wriggle in your pants, puns and plunger fights, a little bit of love, a heap of dreams and imagination and, of course, the tale of how it came to be that a boy named Peter never grew up.
Brian Weaver (Portland Playhouse) and Rebecca Lingafelter (Third Rail Repertory Theatre, PETE) co-direct a cast crammed with comedic dynamos including Isaac Lamb, Sean McGrath, Darius Pierce, Jen Rowe and Sam Dinkowitz. The Playhouse will be creaking with the sway of The Neverland and The Wasp as more than 100 characters rollick and roll through this hilarious and touching true-to-Broadway action adventure.
“This show is a love song to the power of the imagination and packed with the most delightful surprises. We are thrilled to be the ones to bring it to Portland,” said Weaver. “This play could have very easily come through Portland as part of the Broadway Across America tour and played at the Keller Auditorium. Instead, we get to make it at Portland Playhouse! And we are excited to, once again, show that you can have all the power, energy and heart of a large-scale show in our 100-seat theatre neighborhood Playhouse.”
A New York Times’ Critics Pick in 2012, Peter and the Starcatcher was nominated for nine Tony Awards—including Best Play and Best Original Score—making it one of the most successful American plays of the decade.
In his review of Peter and the Starcatcher for the New York Times, Ben Brantley writes:
“The extravagantly resourceful ensemble members of “Peter and the Starcatcher” have almost nothing in the way of modern machinery to support their sky-scraping journeys. On the contrary, there’s little here that couldn’t be found in a theater 150 years ago. What they do have is some ordinary rope, a couple of ladders, a few household appliances, two toy boats and, most important, one another. And they have you, dear theatergoer, because in this ecstatic production you’re as important a part of this process as they are.”
Brantley could have easily been talking about Portland Playhouse. Making magic from the mundane and transporting audiences not through special effects but by bringing them into the story to soar and sing and contemplate and cry with the characters is part of what Portland Playhouse does best. At its core, it produces true, transporting storytelling based not on a big budget, but on getting to the heart of why we love theatre and stories and imagination and the whole mess of human emotions that go with it. And flying. This time there will also be flying.