WENDY'S PETER PAN Comes to Theatricum in June

Performances run  June 22 through October 4. 

By: May. 22, 2024
WENDY'S PETER PAN Comes to Theatricum in June
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Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum has transformed its uniquely beautiful outdoor amphitheater into the imaginary isle of Neverland for a magical production of Wendy’s Peter Pan. Theatricum artistic director Ellen Geer directs her “retelling” of the 1904 play by J.M. Barrie, with performances running June 22 through October 4. 

“This beloved, classic fairytale of a boy who refuses to grow up was written 120 years ago,” notes Geer. “Like Shakespeare, the adventures in Neverland will remain in our vocabulary and hearts forever. May our next generation never lose the innocence of belief in other worlds and other ways.”

All the familiar characters are present as now grown-up Wendy (Willow Geer) recounts her marvelous childhood adventure to her own children. The tale comes to life on Theatricum’s wooded stage as Wendy recalls how she and her brothers (Quinnlyn Scheppner as young Wendy, Jaz Bennassar as John, Julius Geer-Polin as Michael) flew off to Neverland with Peter Pan (Gabrielle Beauvais), cared for the Lost Boys (Cole Dechant, Emelie Dechant, Asher Edwards, Logan Filippi, Luther Geer-Polin, Schroeder Shelby-Szyszk, Aster Laine Smith, Georgiana Swanson, Aralyn Clare Wilson, Elliott Grey Wilson), and crossed paths with Tiger Lily (Ianthe Marini), a mermaid (Robyn Cohen), Captain Hook (Lynn Robert Berg), the pirates (Hunter James, Craig “Linc” Lincoln, John Ellsworth Phillips, Kevin Rauch, Adam Roberts, Sky Wahl) and, of course… Tinkerbell.

The creative team includes composer and musical arranger Marshall McDaniel, choreographer Lexi Pearl, and fight choreographer Cavin (CR) Mohrhardt. Costume design is by Tracy Wahl, lighting design is by Zach Moore, and sound design is by Grant Escandón. Ian Geatz is the prop master and Beth Eslick is the wardrobe supervisor. The assistant director is Hannah Froman. The production stage manager is Kim Cameron, assisted by Alex Penner.

Wendy’s Peter Pan will run in rotation every weekend with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, each of which open earlier in the season. Upcoming, productions of Tartuffe: Born Again, translated and adapted from Molière by Freyda Thomas, and The Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx/Latine Vote, a new play by Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award-winning playwright Bernardo Cubría, will join the repertory season on July 13 and August 24 respectively. Unlike most theaters in the L.A. area that stage continuous runs of a single play, Theatricum will perform all five plays in repertory, making it possible to see them all in a single weekend once they are all up and running.

Other events taking place at Theatricum this season include comedy improv with Theatricum’s resident troupe Off the Grid at the end of each month (June 28, July 25, Aug. 30, Sept. 26); the Under the Oaks salon series on Fridays in September, and Theatricum’s fourth annual Holiday Family Faire on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Theatricum Botanicum has been named “One of the 50 Coolest Places in Los Angeles” by Buzz magazine, “One of Southern California's most beguiling theater experiences” by Sunset magazine, and “Best Theater in the Woods” by the LA Weekly. “The enchantment of a midsummer night at Theatricum Botanicum [makes it] crystal clear why audiences have been driving up into the hills since Theatricum’s maiden season way back in 1973. Summer Shakespeare doesn’t get any better than this,” writes StageSceneLA. Says Los Angelesmagazine, “The amphitheater feels like a Lilliputian Hollywood Bowl, with pre-show picnics and puffy seat cushions, yet we were close enough to see the stitching on the performers costumes. Grab a blanket and a bottle and head for the hills.” In 2017, Theatricum was named “one of the best outdoor theaters around the world” by the Daily Beast.

Theatricum’s beginnings can be traced to the early 1950s when Will Geer, a victim of the McCarthy era Hollywood blacklist (before he became known as the beloved Grandpa on The Waltons), opened a theater for blacklisted actors and folk singers on his property in Topanga. Friends such as Ford Rainey, Della Reese, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie joined him on the dirt stage for vigorous performances and inspired grassroots activism, while the audiences sat on railroad ties. Today, two outdoor amphitheaters are situated in the natural canyon ravine, where audiences are able to relax and enjoy the wilderness during an afternoon or evening's performance. Theatricum’s main stage amphitheater sports a new and improved sun shade for increased audience comfort, installed with support from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Ahmamson Foundation. Theatricum is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Margaret Harford Award for “sustained excellence,” which is the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle's highest honor. 

Wendy’s Peter Pan opens on Saturday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. and continues to run in repertory through October 4. For a complete schedule of performances, scroll all the way down or visit the website. Tickets range from $15 to $48; premium seating is available for $60. Pay What You Will ticket pricing is available for the performance on Friday, July 26, which will also feature a prologue (pre-show discussion) from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The amphitheater is terraced into the hillside, so audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Patrons are welcome to arrive early to picnic in the gardens before a performance. 

Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley. Please note: Topanga Canyon Blvd is currently closed between the theater and PCH; to access Theatricum from the Valley, exit the 101 at Topanga Canyon Blvd. South.




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