BWW Reviews: PETER PAN flies into Oakdale
In anticipation of NBC's exciting live broadcast of the musical Peter Pan this Thursday, I knew it was essential to attend the Patrick Grossman directed incarnation running through January 4th at Long Island's Noel Ruiz Theatre at CM Performing Arts Center (CMPAC). They have been overly buzzing, too, as they even received a shout out from Allison Williams (who portrays the title character for NBC) on the Seth Meyer's show.
And let me tell you that you will not be disappointed in seeing Mr. Grossman's superb cast.
Long Island theatre vet Emily Dowdell leads as the boy who doesn't want to grow up. For the role, Ms. Dowdell, instead of having a British accent, selects to speak in the manner of a little boy. This is very effective and she doesn't miss a beat. I can only imagine the challenge in learning the flying maneuvers, but Ms. Dowdell - and some of the cast - handles it with panache.
Also a highlight is Donald Dowdell in a hilarious performance as Captain Hook. His comedic delivery and facial expressions bring the audience into roars of laughter. In one of several cases of cast members taking on dual roles, Mr. Dowdell also portrays Mr. Darling. While Mr. Dowdell portrays Captain Hook with a zest of showy humor, Mr. Darling is more of a dry wit (pretentious British accent, ext.). Both are fantastic performances and a job well done by the entire cast.
Additionally, Mr. Grossman's set is one of the more elaborate that I've seen at CMPAC. In Act One, we first see the bedroom for the Darling children. Three beds, high walls, a load of toys, and a fireplace make a cozy feel. There is also big "bay window" that flings open when Peter Pan flies in. For their time in Neverland in Act Two, rolling sets give the stage a jungle like ambiance. Act Three was mostly on Captain Hook's ship as he is trying to capture Peter Pan. Everything flows well and Ronald R. Green's costumes are stunning. For the record, as some people don't like shows that are long, this production doesn't run any longer than a two act show. They simply pause for the next Act.
And so among a plethora of picks for this holiday season, Peter Pan at The Noel Ruiz Theatre at CM Performing Arts Center is a fine choice. The brilliant cast and a timeless tale make for a wonderful night of theatre.
Peter Pan at The Noel Ruiz Theatre at CM Performing Arts Center runs through January 4th. A musical based on the play by Sir J.M. Barrie, Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Music by Morris (Moose) Charlap, Additional Lyrics by Betty Comden & Adoleph Green, Additional Music by Jule Styne, Direction and Set Design by Patrick Grossman, Musical Direction by Matthew W. Surico, Choreography by M.E. Junge, Sound Design by Brianne Boyd, Lighting Design by Danny Amy, Costume Design by Ronald R. Green III, Stage Management by Barbara Tiernan. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 218-2810 or visit www.cmpac.com.