On a hot summer morning in the dense forest surrounding Chattahoochee Hills, GA, it doesn't take much to be transported into Neverland. The picturesque setting on a creek bed at the Mado Hideaway at Serenbe Playhouse makes for the perfect escape into a familiar world known to fantasy lovers of all ages. In the newest production of PETER PAN: A WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL PIRATE ADVENTURE at Serenebe Playhouse, the story of Peter Pan gets a new chapter and has something for everyone - a thrilling adventure for kids, a welcome escape for adults, and the performance pedigree that has become synonymous with Serenebe's productions.

Serenbe's reputation for immersive storytelling begins upon arrival at the playhouse. With characters and small decorative vignettes greeting audiences along the pathway to the seating alongside the creek, the dedication to transporting audiences to Neverland becomes clear. A massive version of Captain Hook's ship, the Jolly Roger, is built on top of the creek running below. While it looks minimalist at first, it is quickly revealed to be extremely sturdy, as cast members appear and make use of some interesting aerial transportation methods.

As the story unfolds, the audience is quickly introduced to the familiar characters: Tinker Bell (a bubbly Alexandria Joy) sets the stage: after Peter Pan and Captain Hook's original battle, Peter Pan (Aaron Schilling) has continued to galivant around Neverland. Only problem is, his merry band of Lost Boys (Destiny Freeman, Karley Rene and Cullen Gray pulling double duty as the Lost Boys and Hook's Crew) are about to mutiny due to Peter's overbearing nature and lack of listening skills. They realize through song that their real wish is to leave Neverland and go to the place they long for most, home. Tinkerbell shares the latest fairy development with the group: that there is a special Wishing Tree in the heart of Neverland that shall grant wishes to those that ask it. With the crew riled up at the possibility of leaving Neverland, Peter panics and uses his wish to keep the Lost Boys in Neverland forever. His lack of specifics with the Wishing Tree leads to a precarious situation, when his friends are suddenly turned into a bag of rocks. On top of it all, a surprise appearance by Captain Hook (Jeremy Gee) is threatening to end Peter's perfect life in Neverland once and for all. Peter strikes a deal with the nefarious Hook, that if he will help get his friends back, Peter will leave Neverland once and for all.

Throughout their journey in Neverland, the cast takes every opportunity to shine with choreography and vocals at a brisk pace. Clocking in at just around 50 minutes, the show packs in the action while ensuring that the audience remains engaged without growing restless in the summer heat. The cast particularly targets the youngest viewers who sit on blankets near the creek, encouraging kids to dance and sing along. In one of the show's lighter moments, Captain Hook shares what would be his ask of the Wishing Tree: that he could share his secret love of dancing with the world. The admission provides comic relief, but also forces Peter to realize that if he wants to get his friends back and keep living in Neverland, he will have to make some changes himself.

With the help of a revered Oracle (Alexandria Joy as Tinker Bell with extra accessories), Peter manages to get his friends back in human form. Hook has also experienced a change of heart following his admission of his love of dance. Instead of being mocked, he's respected by his crew, and his change of heart allows Peter to stay in Neverland with his friends. All parties have their wishes granted, and Hook and Peter move forward as benevolent frenemies. The whole show is about as sparkly as Tinker Bell's fairy dust, and ends on a happy note.

I'd recommend this show for families with young children who are looking for a thrilling live experience with compelling visuals. Regardless of length, the show is vibrant and full of life - well worth the drive out to Serenbe on a weekend morning. The cast breathes new life into the familiar characters, and their energy transcends to the audience. Viewers of all ages will find something to relate to in this fun and cheerful production at Serenbe Playhouse!

The cast includes Aaron Schilling (Peter Pan), Alexandria Joy (Tinker Bell/Oracle), Jeremy Gee (Captain Hook), Cullen Gray (Slightly/Smee), Destiny Freeman (Curley/One Eye) and Karley Rene (Nibs/Frank).

PETER PAN is Directed by 2017 Drama League Directing Fellow Michael Alvarez. Alvarez brings on Los Angeles playwright Roger Q. Mason & international musician Ella Grace to pen the original music and lyrics. Joining this trio is longtime Playhouse collaborator choreographer Bubba Carr. The rest of the team includes: Ed Thrower (Music Director), Monty Davis (Fight Choreographer), Scott Sargent (Scenic Design), Alan Yeong (Costume Design), Joel Coady (Sound Design), and Jillian Haughey (Properties Design).

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From This Author Stephanie Robb

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