BWW Review: Syracuse City Ballet Performs a Phenomenal Production of PETER PAN at the Crouse Hinds Theater

BWW Review: Syracuse City Ballet Performs a Phenomenal Production of PETER PAN at the Crouse Hinds Theater
Jake Casey in the Syracuse City Ballet production of Peter Pan.
Photo by Royce Burgess.

A powerful and passionate production of Peter Pan dazzled audiences this past weekend at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater in Syracuse, New York. The Syracuse City Ballet out did their past productions with this high-flying adventurous ballet. The staging, the flying effects, and of course the dancing were all magnificent under the Syracuse City Ballet's Artistic Director Kathleen Rathbun (direction and choreography).

Syracuse City Ballet was founded in 1997 by the current artistic director Kathleen Rathbun. It is the only professional ballet company in the Central New York region. Each ballet that this wonderful and hardworking company brings to local audiences features family friendly entertainment and the opportunity for local professional, pre-professional, and student dancers to perform alongside national and international guest artists. This year's production of Peter Pan stars Claire Rathbun as Wendy and Jake Casey as Peter Pan. The ballet, of course, is based on the classic story by Sir James Barrie. The performers all deliver energetic performances as they dance to the music composed by Cameron DeLeone.

What would Peter Pan be without the flying? The spellbinding flying effects were created by Flying by Troy and they certainly wowed the audiences. The costumes and sets for this production are courtesy of the Cincinnati Ballet. The sets allowed for smooth scene changes from the Darling home, the magical world of Never Never Land featuring a Mermaid Lagoon, to an Underground Home where Peter and the Lost boys live, and (of course) The Jolly Roger. The visual elements made the production even more dazzling.

But let's not forget the dancers...

Jake Casey first began his training with Kathleen Rathbun at the Syracuse City Ballet and has since gone on to build an impressive resume. His return to the Syracuse City Ballet as the title character is marked by him making the most of his time in the spotlight in the high-flying role. His energy and comedic timing are truly impressive. His animated performance left the audience laughing and clapping as he showed off his impressive poise and athleticism.

The production also features Claire Rathbun, a returning alumnus of the Syracuse City Ballet. Rathbun, also armed with a very impressive resume, never disappoints in the Syracuse City Ballet productions and this one is no exception. Her power, grace, energy, and impressive dancing are always a treat to see. The emotion she puts into her dancing is entrancing. She embodied the role of Wendy beautifully. Her onstage chemistry with Jake Casey was perfection keeping in line with their characters.

The production also showcased some impressive featured dancers. A local high school senior Makayla Kanerviko - who often performs and stands out in Syracuse City Ballet productions as a member of the corps de ballet and as a soloist - lights up the stage in Peter Pan as the always spunky and feisty Tinkerbell. Kanerviko shows off skills beyond her years as everyone's favorite fairy. Her professionalism and passion made her performance stand out as a highlight.

Luis Molina is lively, hilarious, and memorable as Captain Hook, performing the impressive choreography enhanced by the detailed Hook costume. His dance with the crocodile (Brenan Reagan) was a highlight of the production.

Kameron Triche a 19-year-old Syracuse native re-joined the Syracuse City Ballet as a principal guest artist performing the role of Tiger Lily. Triche once again steals the spotlight with her elegance, poise, athleticism, and her passion. She is a dancer that I always look forward to seeing in the Syracuse City Ballet productions. She is a truly radiant performer and steals the spotlight with everyone leap and turn.

Other standout performers include Gisele Fumarola as John and Tyler Wladis as Michael. Their expression and energy were perfection especially in the flight scenes. Josh Scheirer, dressed as Nana the sheepdog, was entertaining. Jordan Fascia delivered a lovely performance as the Nurse. Syracuse City Ballet's first resident dancer Alejandro Cobas was memorable as Smee and Shadow. His dance as the shadow alongside Jake Casey as Peter Pan was perfection. Jose Carlos Perez, a Syracuse City Ballet resident dancer, delivered an entertaining performance as Noodles - a very comedic and energetic performer indeed. Lucas De Marinis and Dominic Fortunato delivered top-notch performances as well.

BWW Review: Syracuse City Ballet Performs a Phenomenal Production of PETER PAN at the Crouse Hinds Theater
L-R Claire Rathbun,Tyler Wladis, and Gisele Fumarola in the Syracuse City Ballet production of Peter Pan. Photo by Royce Burgess.

When the Darling children take flight to Never Land, you can't help but take notice. "The Flight" scene was absolutely stunning with student dancers performing as the stars and shooting stars. The stage was completely dark, and the only visible light was the lights outlining the dancer's leotards. The Stars (Bridget Allen, Ava Ascenzo, Ella Benyehuda, Lily Debejian, Abigail Fassinger, Emily Flynn, Baillie Nicoll, Lily Rabozzi, Michaela Reitzel, Madison Scheirer) and the Shooting Stars (Claire Algarin, Brooke Allen, Natalie Ascioti, Sophia Cahill, Sarai Card, Megan Charlton, Lucy DeMore, Mary Earley, Ashley Foss, Ava Garland, Amelia Gill, Nora Kinsella, Kara Kleinhans, Mackenzie Maguire, Heather Marburger, Hazel McNeily, Teresa Olin, Reagan Rogers, Brooke Todd) put on a dance number that was absolutely breathtaking. Again, Kathleen Rathbun's eye for staging, choreography, and talent is spot on.

The Jolly Roger scene featuring the pirates and wenches dancing and performing various other antics was a highlight as well.

The Syracuse City Ballet's production of Peter Pan this past weekend will be hard to top in the future. However, I have no doubt that it will be thanks to Syracuse City Ballet's passion and devotion.

Running time: Approximately two hours with one twenty-minute intermission.

Syracuse City Ballet's production of Peter Pan performed March 16, 2019 to March 17, 2019 at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater. For tickets and information on upcoming productions, click here.

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From This Author Natasha Ashley