Monday, January 13, 2014

Peter and the Star Catcher(s)

Patty here...

Last night I went to see Peter and the Star Catcher (note the singular) at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, a "play with music" based on the children's book Peter and the Star Catchers (note the plural) by Dave Barry and our very own Ridley Pearson. Along the way, the play lost an s in order to spotlight Molly (delightfully played by Megan Stern), the Starcatcher, who according to playwright Rick Elice is
"...a smart, spiky kid with the DNA of Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird and Jo March from Little Women; these highly active, very empowered, super-bright, hyper-curious girls who are kind of isolated because they're so special."

The proscenium is made from recycled materials like corks, cans, zippers & CDs
The play was clever, athletic and funny. It featured outstanding performances, especially by Megan Stern as Molly and John Sanders as Black Stache. In addition to all the other accolades this production has received (5 Tony Awards plus others), the Los Angeles Times gave it a glowing review on December 7, 2013, which you can read here. For the uninitiated, the story is a prequel to the book Peter Pan by James M. Barrie, in which "stuff" is explained, including "star stuff."

John Sanders played Black Stache

Rick Elice (he also co-wrote Jersey Boys, one of my favorite musicals) said this about the play:

"Although it was based on a children's book, we never thought of it as a show for children. We knew we wanted to indicate a world, and let the audience fill in the blanks. We knew there would be no pirate ships onstage. We knew we wanted to use the same few props over and over to tell the story. And we knew it was going to be a play with musical elements.

I tried to to emulate stylistically all of the verbal tricks that James Barrie used in 1903: high comedy, low bawdy humor, puns, alliterations, anachronisms, songs, verse, verbal hijinks, sentiment balanced by irreverence, and artifice balanced by contemporary references."

The program featured several interesting articles about the production, but "One Person's Trash is Another Person's Tony Award" was the most intriguing. All of the costumes and scenic design features were made from recycled and sustainable materials. Set designer Donyale Werle and costume designer Paloma Young both received 2012 Tony Awards for their amazing work.

Costumes made of recycled materials; note vegetable steamers

 A delightful evening. If you have the opportunity to see the play on its national tour, please do so.



  1. The play has not hit least not in the 15 months since I moved back here. When it does, I'm there, even if Ridley and Dave don't comp me.

    1. After all those years of friendship you should get backstage intros to all the mermaids!

  2. from Jacqueline

    Well, comp or no comp, that sounds like a lot of fun! Now, is there a dog in the play?

  3. No dog but there is a cat...and a ticking alligator.

  4. James O. Born1/14/2014 6:08 PM

    Those names seem familiar