BWW Interview: Billy Harrigan Tighe of FINDING NEVERLAND National Tour Coming to the Wharton Center and Then Detroit!

BWW Interview: Billy Harrigan Tighe of FINDING NEVERLAND National Tour Coming to the Wharton Center and Then Detroit!Finding Neverland is coming to Michigan with two tour stops during its first national tour. First up is December 12th-17th at the Cobb Great Hall as part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at the Wharton Center Series in East Lansing and then February 6th-18th at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. Based on the Academy Award-winning Miramax motion picture by David Magee, and play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, Finding Neverland follows the relationship between playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up - one of the most beloved stories of all time. This new musical is packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs, and plenty of laughs. Finding Neverland is a timeless story about the power of imagination...and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up! And BroadwayWorld Detroit had a quick moment to hear from Billy Harrigan Tighe who is currently on tour with Finding Neverland as J.M. Barrie.

Where did you get your start and who inspired you to become a performer?

As a child, I was always in choir at church and school and performing wasn't something I ever thought about. When I was 13, I was in a county wide honor chorus and our conductor was the head of a performing arts high school. He approached me at the end of the event and introduced me to the Director of the High School. Together they talked to me about the school and the options I might have if I were to attend and I immediately decided it was something I wanted to do. Once I attended the school I discovered performing. There I saw my first musical, performed in my first musical and truly discovered my passion.

There are many versions of Barrie's classic tale. Do you have any affinity for any other version and why?

I was obsessed with the movie HOOK when I was a kid and still think a lot of my desire to get into performing, dance and gymnastics are because I had always wanted to be one of the lost boys in that film.

What drew you to this piece?

As an actor, I'm always drawn to pieces of theatre that are going to stretch my skills in a new direction. FINDING NEVERLAND offers me the opportunity to dive into a character that's a bit unconventional and explore what it's like to be a parent/guardian for four boys.

What is it about this version that you love?

I love that FINDING NEVERLAND is a contemporary musical twist on a classic story. Musicals allow characters to explore their thoughts and journey through song and NEVERLAND is all about rediscovering life and inner voice. I love that this production allows us to dive into these characters imaginations and move their journeys forward through song.

What is your favorite part of the show?

My favorite part of the production is the last 10 minutes of the show. It's one of the few times the entire company is on stage and also when most of the Peter Pan elements come to life. After spending two hours working together its magical to have a moment of quiet where we see the story of Peter Pan we all know come to life.

What, if any, changes are there for the tour from the Broadway version?

The changes from the Broadway version were to help make the relationships between some of the characters clearer. There are also a few new songs. A new opening and closing number and Barrie has a new song in the first act.

This is the first musical for both Graham/Kennedy. What is different about their music compared to other shows you've done?

I think what makes this show interesting and accessible is that they've written a pop musical for a different time period. It allows audiences to be engaged with memorable songs while adding a new pulse to Edwardian England.

What is your favorite thing about touring?

I love being able to tour the country and perform in so many theaters I've heard about and never seen. It allows me to really explore and get to know many places I wouldn't necessarilyget to go to otherwise.

Finding Neverland opens December 12th at Cobb Great Hall in the Wharton Center in East Lansing. For more information and tickets, visit www.whartoncenter.com.

Finding Neverland opens February 6th at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. For more information and tickets, visit www.BroadwayInDetroit.com.

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