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BWW Interview: Spenser Micetich of FINDING NEVERLAND at National Theatre

BWW Interview: Spenser Micetich of FINDING NEVERLAND at National Theatre
The Company of Finding Neverland.
Credit: Jeremy Daniel

In a city that is often associated with cynicism, you may soon feel a little fairy dust sprinkled over town.

FINDING NEVERLAND is flying into the National Theatre in Washington DC this week, stoking our childlike wonder that can be easily lost in the daily grind. The musical, based on the Academy Award-winning film, spins a fantasy blending the real life of author J.M. Barrie and his most famous production, PETER PAN. Spenser Micetich stars as Mr. Cromer, a member of the Duke of York Theatre troupe acting in Barrie's latest play.

"He is a little eccentric, a little dramatic," Micetich described. "The actors of that time all held themselves in high status. It is a really fun role to play. I love anytime I get to make an audience laugh. There are many moments within this character that that happens."

The role may be comical, but that doesn't make it any less demanding. Micetich and many of his castmates tackle dual roles. As Barrie's imagination soars, his vision of a magical land of mermaids, pirates, and fairies materializes. Mr. Cromer and others fill the roles in Barrie's production that actually play out on stage. For Micetich, that means becoming the youngest Darling child, Michael.

"That is the added challenge because it is not me, Spenser, playing Michael. It is Spenser playing Mr. Cromer and how Mr. Cromer would play Michael," he said. "I just take qualities about Mr. Cromer that I know and have discovered and apply that to how he would act in a show. You really have to get into their mindset, how they behave and try to maneuver your way through who they are and how they would approach the character. "

Knowing a character so intimately may require great skill and dedication, but there are perks to the role, Micetich said. "[Michael] wears the blue onesie and has a teddy bear and I think it's maybe the most comfortable costume I've ever worn on stage."

Who among us hasn't dreamt of wearing pajamas to work? At a moment's notice, however, Micetich is prepared to trade in his comfy bedclothes for a swashbuckling uniform.

BWW Interview: Spenser Micetich of FINDING NEVERLAND at National Theatre
Jeff Sullivan and Conor McGiffin in Finding Neverland. Credit: Jeremy Daniel

"I understudy [the character] Charles Frohman, but he also provides the inspiration for the character of Captain Hook," he explained. "There is a really cool sequence where he becomes Captain Hook and does a whole number as Captain Hook. It is a really thrilling way to end the act."

Conor McGiffin regularly plays Frohman/Hook, but Micetich has already stepped in to play Peter Pan's pirate nemesis on tour.

"I remember the first time that Conor was going to be out of the show and I got the call I would be going on that night. I just felt so thrilled to be able to have the support of my cast members," Micetich gushed. "That performance was so magical because I trusted everyone on stage. I knew they were there to help me. It has been really great and thrilling to be able to understudy."

Playing the character less often does not equate to knowing the role any less intimately. Micetich makes certain that any changes in the cast appear seamless to audiences.

"I know Mr. Cromer like the back of my hand, but at the same time, still knowing Charles Frohman and Captain Hook just as well because at any point I could have to step into that role," he explained.

FINDING NEVERLAND tackles themes of love and loss in more realistic ways than PETER PAN at times, but they share a common thread of wonderment. Micetich says those theatrical elements of the story translate beautifully to the stage. "It's something the movie touched on, but I think the play really delves into the magic of life, which is an overlying theme throughout the musical. The magic of love and the magic of family and how there is magic everywhere in the world. No matter where we are or what we're doing, if we recognize it or if we don't, I think there is magic in us all and surrounding us."

Of course, there is no magic without a little make-believe.

"We have a moment where we clap for Tinkerbell," Micetich said. "The end of the show really does bring the magic full circle."

FINDING NEVERLAND takes flight at the National Theatre February 26-March 3.

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