Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
FINDING NEVERLAND
Click Here for More Articles on FINDING NEVERLAND

FINDING NEVERLAND Calls on Peter Pan Expert to Promote Tony Campaign

Theater fans are eagerly awaiting tomorrow's announcement of this year's Tony Award nominees, and a Finding Neverland campaign is already in the works. Variety has shared an excerpt of an op-ed letter written by Peter Pan expert Maria Tatar, professor of Germanic languages and literatures and folklore and mythology at Harvard University, which was sent out to the nominators of Broadway's most distinguished awards. According to the site, Weinstein is hoping to "bolster the critical credibility' of his show, which recently opened to mixed reviews.

In addition to offering her expertise, Tatar also points out that the show is helmed by Tony winner Diane Paulus, who turns out to be the only female director eligible for a Tony nomination for musical direction this year.

Check out the text below:

How do we explain Peter Pan's enduring hold on our imagination? Why do we get hooked (and I use the term with all due deliberation) when we are children and continue to remain under the spell as adults? J.M. Barrie, more than any other author of children's books, attempted to level distinctions between adult and child, as well as to dismantle the opposition between creator and consumer. He aimed to produce a story that would be sophisticated and playful, adult-friendly as well as child-friendly. At long last, here was a cultural story that would bridge the still vast literary divide between adults and children. Peter Pan could be a shared experience, drawing two audiences together that had long been segregated into separate domains.

Peter Pan continues to bring young and old together, as they flock to New York City's Lunt Fontanne Theater. There, the boy who would not grow up returns to us in the new musical "Finding Neverland." As audience members, we explore everything from the origins of the boy who would not grow up (Barrie's brother David died in a tragic ice-skating accident and was doomed to remain forever young) to the COMPLICATIONS of creating a work not just for children but also with children (Barrie famously disavowed the role of author, first calling himself "Anon." then attributing the writing of the play at various times to children and to a nursemaid).

"Finding Neverland," like Peter Pan before it, unsettles us even as it provides the comforts of immersive entertainments. The production reminds us exactly why Neverland remains relevant today and why we still need Peter Pan to help us navigate the real world. Our anxiety level is rarely higher than when Peter asks us to express our faith in fairies by clapping. Should we clap? Can we be assured that others will join in? Make-believe suddenly blends into the making of beliefs.

Barrie understood that we never leave childhood entirely behind us. "It isn't a play just for children. It's a play for everyone. Everyone who has a child inside of them, screaming to get out!" an exasperated Barrie shouts in "Finding Neverland." Lurking beneath the attractions of "Finding Neverland" as musical are alluring questions that challenge us to think more and think harder about what is at stake in our understanding of children and their relationship to grown-ups, those former children who are now "grown up and done for."

Based on the 2004 film, "Finding Neverland" as a musical historicizes the invention of Peter Pan, showing how the work about him emerged from play-carefree collaborations between writer and boys, along with the searing drama of adult soul-searching. "Finding Neverland," like Barrie's Peter Pan, also offers up the consolations of imagination. If there is anything to be learned from Neverland, it has to do with the healing power of imagination and fantasy. "Finding Neverland" works its magic through the sorcery of words and the enchantments of song and spectacle. Peter Pan is nearly always played by a woman, and it is no surprise that a woman directs this production (notably the only female director of a musical this season on Broadway). Diane Paulus reinvents the story of Peter Pan, embracing and intensifying its impulse to create what J.M. Barrie called "ecstasies innumerable."

J.M. Barrie would be delighted that this new musical is capturing what he always hoped for with his creation of Peter Pan - igniting the imaginations of children and adults alike on their collective journey to Neverland.

The new Broadway musical Finding Neverland, starring Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer and Laura Michelle Kelly, began previews on March 15 and officially opened April 15, 2015 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street).

Directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair), with music and lyrics by Gary Barlow(Take That) and Grammy winner Eliot Kennedy, book by Olivier Award nominee James Graham, and choreography by Emmy Award-winner Mia Michaels ("So You Think You Can Dance,"Cirque du Soleil's Delirium), this new musical, packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, is a timeless story about the power of imagination... and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up.

Finding Neverland features a superb cast led by Matthew Morrison ("Glee," South Pacific), Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier," La Cage aux Folles), Laura Michelle Kelly (Mary Poppins) and Carolee Carmello(Parade), with Teal Wicks,Alex Dreier, Aidan Gemme, Jackson Demott Hill, Noah Hinsdale,Sawyer Nunes, Christopher Paul Richards,Hayden Signoretti with Courtney Balan, Dana Costello,Colin Cunliffe, Rory Donovan, Chris Dwan, Kevin Kern, Josh Lamon, Melanie Moore, Mary PageNance,Fred Odgaard, Emma Pfaeffle, Jonathan Ritter, Tyley Ross, Julius Anthony Rubio, Paul Slade Smith,Ron Todorowski, Jaime Verazin and Jessica Vosk.

Based on the Academy Award winning motion picture by the same name, Finding Neverland follows playwright J.M. Barrie as he summons the courage to become the writer -- and the man -- he yearns to be. Barrie finds the inspiration he's been missing when he meets the beautiful widow Sylvia and her four young sons: Jack, George, Michael and Peter. Delighted by the boys' hilarious escapades, Barrie conjures the magical world of Neverland and writes a play unlike any the high-society London theatergoers have ever seen. It's a tremendous risk, but as Barrie himself has discovered -- when you believe, you can fly.

Source: Variety

Photo: Facebook


Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles

From This Author TV News Desk