Review Roundup: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER on Broadway - All the Reviews!
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, by Rick Elice, directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers began preview performances on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Wednesday, March 28 and opened tonight, April 15th.
The cast, led by Adam Chanler-Berat as Boy, Celia Keenan-Bolger as Molly and Christian Borle as Black Stache, also features Teddy Bergman, Arnie Burton, Matt D'Amico, Kevin Del Aguila, Carson Elrod, Greg Hildreth, Rick Holmes, Isaiah Johnson, David Rossmer, Betsy Hogg, Orville Mendoza, Jason Ralph and John Sanders.
The new play with music is a retelling of how a miserable orphan came to be The Boy Who Never Grew Up, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER upends the century-old legend of Peter Pan. Were the critics charmed? Let's find out!
For a look back at the show's New York Theater Workshop reviews, click here.
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: 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. ... None of this could be achieved if the actors didn’t have a level of synchronicity and reciprocal trust that you associate with master ballet troupes. As the cast members take turns delivering the narrative, the others instantly assume the myriad shapes and guises being described. It’s the most exhilarating example of locomotive storytelling on Broadway since the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” visited three decades ago, with a cast that included a young actor named Roger Rees.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: The Broadway version opened Sunday at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre with the same leads – Adam Chanler-Berat, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Christian Borle – who made it a darling downtown at the New York Theatre Workshop last year. The cast is fantastic and hardworking and collaborative, the sets are weirdly inventive, but its trip north has not done it any favors. ... The Peter Pan prequel was commissioned by Disney Theatricals and ran in a workshop version in 2009 in La Jolla, Calif., before coming to New York. It's supposed to connect with kids and adults alike, but ends up shortchanging both with a frantic, indulgent mess.
Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News: Borle’s wink-wink performance is so over the top that I half expected him to applaud himself at the end. Celia Keenan- Bolger is delightful as Molly/Wendy, as is Adam Chanler-Berat as the Boy who would be Peter. But “Peter and the Starcatcher” just can’t stop crowing about how clever it is. I wanted to smack it.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter: The Bottom Line - This adaptation of the Peter Pan origin story is rich in antic humor and theatrical invention, but the stardust loses potency and becomes a tad precious on a larger stage.
David Sheward, Backstage: Has "Peter and the Starcatcher," the dazzlingly fun riff on the Peter Pan legend that lit up the intimate New York Theatre Workshop last season, lost any of its luster in a trip to the Never Never Land of Broadway? When this clever and joyous entertainment opened last March, there were immediate murmurings about a Main Stem transfer. There were also fears that Rick Elice's adaptation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's novel would lose its special charm in a cavernous Midtown theater. I'm happy to report that "Peter" has not given up a speck of its fairy dust–infused whimsy. This is a celebration of youth and of the power of theater to inspire children and adults alike.
David Cote, Time Out: Peter and the Starcatcher has indeed grown up: It’s on Broadway with a steeper ticket price than during its intimate maiden voyage at New York Theatre Workshop last year. And while the production is bigger and shinier, beneath the dazzling, tricked-out proscenium beats the exhilarated heart of a kid who wants to fly. And you can be sure: Peter soars—deliriously high and gloriously far.
Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly: Once the entire gang of orphans, pirates, and aristocrats get caught up in a doozy of a sea storm, the show starts to get a little bumpy as well. (Directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers’ deliberately low-tech staging — think spray bottles, sticks, and wires — is terribly clever and impeccably paced, but that is one looong shipwreck scene.) And when everyone finds themselves wandering through a jungle, your mind may begin to wander as well. A bunch of savages with names like Fighting Prawn and Hawking Clam who want to 'butterfly and deep-fat fry' Peter & Co. definitely overstay their welcome.
Jonathan Mandell, The Faster Times: “Peter and the Starcatcher” is also still, for my taste, too long and busy for what it is; it is still a struggle to stay engaged throughout. It is best to appreciate the play if you don’t expect it to do for Peter Pan what “Wicked” does for The Wizard of Oz – best, in other words, to see it not as a clever take on a beloved story but as a new entertainment with its own delights. But the Broadway production brings more Peter Pan into the show, especially a scene built around a J.M. Barrie line that could be the slogan for this successful transfer: “To have faith is to have wings.”
Matt Windman, AM New York: Alex Timbers and Roger Rees' spirited production of Rick Elice's play is that rare kind of theatrical event that can appeal equally to kids — who will be captivated by the sentimental, action-packed plot — and adults — who will admire its imaginative theatricality.
Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer: An extended hit last year at New York Theatre Workshop, Peter and the Starcatcher opened Sunday night on Broadway, a Broadway show suitable for families. Adults will enjoy its complex theatricality (an enormous crocodile made from found objects, electrified touches of acting through movement choreographed by Steven Hoggett,sound design by Darron L West that puts us squarely in different places and situations). Kids will follow it for its bizarre and hammy characters and its constant sense of adventure.
Michael Sommers, NJ Newsroom: Pirates, orphans, natives, mermaids and a gigantic crocodile romp through a two-act tale bursting with dastardly doings, epic chases, daring escapes and silly humor. Co-directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, the off-Broadway production offered delightful entertainment. Some of that charm is missing, unfortunately, from the Broadway version of the show, which opened on Sunday at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Michael Musto, The Village Voice: The comedy varies ("You like me! You really, really like me!" Ugh) and the switch to total earnestness at the end doesn't fly, but in digging into the roots of a familiar tale, Peter catches enough stardust, especially when it's at its most wicked.
More Reviews to Come in the AM!