Duck your head, clear the air and get ready to fly Nov. 3-6 with the MTSU Arts production of “Peter Pan,” where a full cast and crew will bring the swashbuckling musical fantasy to local audiences in — and above — MTSU’s Tucker Theatre.
The Darlings, the Lost Boys, pirates and Tinker Bell all will be there, along with all the songs, dances and even a special-effects crew to lift actors high into the air to Neverland via the MTSU Department of Theatre and Dance.
“We’re aiming to wow our audiences,” director and theatre professor Kristi Shamburger says of the Tony Award-winning musical.
“We have lots of spectacle, with the flying and all the other great things about the show, but it’s all silly and fun. It’s the story you remember: it’s silly and sentimental. We could pull a tear or two.”
Shamburger is once again teaming up with musical director Raphael Bundage, a professor of vocal performance in MTSU’s School of Music, to create another professional-caliber production.
This time, they’re also enlisting the help of Louisville, Kentucky-based ZFX Flying Effects to take five cast members airborne.
Advance tickets are available at www.mtsuarts.com at the “tickets” link; showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 3-5, and public matinees also will be offered at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 6.
Ticket prices, which include a service fee, are $15 general admission and $10 for K-12 students and senior citizens 60 and older. MTSU students, faculty and staff with valid IDs will be admitted free.
Special school matinees are scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 3 and 4 in Tucker Theatre. Tickets are $5 per student; more information is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sophomore Parker Chase of Memphis, who’s been practicing her crowing and keeping track of her shadow and her dagger as Peter, says rehearsals have been a joy for the whole cast.
“So far the fight sequences are fun. They’re hard to learn, but really really fun to do. I fight this one,” Chase says, hooking a thumb over her shoulder at her on-stage antagonist with a grin, “so we have a little sword ‘handshake’ that we do. And flying, too — I’m looking forward to that.”
Senior Daniel Meeks of Chattanooga is wearing the hook — and the plumed hat, massive mustache, Restoration-era coat and sword — as Peter’s nemesis, Captain James Hook. He also plays double duty as Mr. Darling, the father of Peter’s playmates Wendy, John and Michael.
“Playing the villain is so much fun, of any type, but Captain Hook is … CAPTAIN HOOK, you know? Look at this mustache!” Meeks says, twirling his costume’s facial hair.
“I’m excited about our production here because I’ve been involved with Peter Pan productions before that have used primarily just children as actors. While I love that because it’s wonderful for the children, I think I like acting with the adults a little better. … Every day I come in and I get more and more excited about performing!”
Murfreesboro senior Hayley Orozco, who portrays Wendy, says she’s had an unexpectedly pleasant learning experience for this show.
“I love the story of Peter Pan, but I found out I really didn’t know much about the musical itself until we got started here,” Orozco admits. “I’ve actually grown really fond of all the songs and the dancing! I’m really excited to fly, too; I’ve never done that before, so I think that’ll be a fun experience.”
MTSU’s “Peter Pan” features a 34-member cast, an orchestra and a crew that brings the total involved to nearly 60 people. You can see the full cast and crew listing as well as the program for the MTSU Arts production of “Peter Pan” here and watch a behind-the-scenes video below.
“Peter Pan” continues the Department of Theatre and Dance’s large-scale musical production schedule, coming on the heels of spring 2016’s “West Side Story,” spring 2015’s “La Cage Aux Folles,” spring 2014’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” and the record-setting four-night run of “Les Misérables” in fall 2013.
The department’s also presented multiple successful nonmusical productions, including “Uncle Vanya,” “Einstein’s Dreams,” “Almost Maine,” “Dog Sees God,” “A Doll’s House” and “Amen Corner,” to appreciative audiences in recent years.
“Everybody can relate to Peter Pan, because everybody has those days where you wish you didn’t have these adult responsibilities,” Shamburger says. “All of us have days where we’d like to go back to being a child, but then there are days where it’s nice to be an adult instead, so it’s a win-win either way!
“We’re encouraging everyone to reserve their tickets early to be sure to get a seat. We also have a new curtain time this season, 7 p.m., to be family-friendly so you can bring the kids and still get them to bed before it’s too late.”
Tickets also will be available at the Tucker Theatre box office one hour before curtain times. For more information about the show, visit http://mtsuarts.com or call 615-494-8810.
— Gina E. Fann (email@example.com)