FOR PETER PAN ON HER 70th BIRTHDAY
By SARAH RUHL
Directed by KAREN JAMBON
February 14 - March 10, 2019
When Ann thinks of her father, she immediately remembers playing Peter Pan in her hometown theatre in Iowa, particularly when he used to bring her flowers after her performance. What follows is a loving look at a family’s view of life, death, and the allure of never growing up.
“Charming, playful and whimsical!”
– Austin-American Statesman
“Another unusual contemporary play produced well!”
- Central Texas Live Theatre
"Boasts a richness of talent that knows how to entertain!”
- BroadwayWorld Austin
DAVID R. JARROTT
We asked our actors about their memories of and connections to the Peter Pan story. Here are their replies:
Janelle Buchanan (Ann) Peter Pan and company are tied up in my first memory of Halloween, when I was five. I had an awesome Tinkerbelle costume, probably purchased at the Woolworth or Ben Franklin five-and-dime. It was all glittery net, with white tights and ballet slippers and, best of all, wings! I grew up in northwest Arkansas, which truly has four seasons, unlike some parts of the country I could name, so it was quite chilly by the end of October. I was set to head out for a perfect night of trick-or-treating when my mother made me put on a sweater. OVER MY TINKERBELLE WINGS. I like to think I have forgiven her, but I clearly remember thinking, "I hope Captain Hook gets you for this."
Mick D’Arcy (Jim) My crush on Peter Panbegan with Mary Martin; the Disney cartoon gave me one of my favorite villains (Hook) and such a wonderful comeuppance for that villain! Now I get to crush on Janelle Buchanan and receive my villainous comeuppance from Garry Peters! As Metallica says, “We’re off to Never-Neverland”!
Anne Hulsman (Wendy) It wasn’t my first experience but my last experience with Peter Pan which is so seared into my memory. Rachel Wiese/Exchange Artists brought together the Italian children from the town of Castiglion Fiorentino and the A&M students from the Santa Chiara Study Center to put together one of the most charming renditions of Peter Pan. The Italian children sang and spoke their lines in English while the A&M students sang and spoke their lines in Italian. All the children wanted to be Peter Pan and Wendy. It took a full month to get the skateboard used by the actor playing the crocodile. (It barely made it on time.) It all culminated into one-time only show which shut down the small Italian town. Everyone turned out and there were flowers, smiles and pictures everywhere. It still makes me smile.
David R. Jarrott (John) Like most of the rest of this company, I was mesmerized by Mary Martin in the live television production of Peter Panin 1955. Although it was the first full-length Broadway production to be broadcast on color tv, in my house it was seen on a small black & white screen. This was the same year that 10-year old me was making his acting debut, and I was particularly taken by Cyril Ritchard’s Captain Hook, appropriately over-the-top. Although I never had the chance to play that coveted role, I was thrilled to be in a different take on the Peter Pan story, the ZACH Theatre production of Peter and the Starcatcherin 2015 as Alf. While the Broadway and touring companies featured a company of actors who were all in their mid-20s to mid-30s, the ZACH production featured actors more age appropriate to their roles. Every character is on stage for at least 55-minutes out of each 1-hour act; the action is non-stop, singing, dancing, swash-buckling, running, jumping, climbing and I described the experience as two-hours of chasing twenty-somethings around on the stage every performance (sometimes twice a day)! I was at least twice as old as most company members, three times as old as a few! One actor, who was in his late 20s, told me that as tired as he was after each show he kept saying to himself: “If Dave Jarrott can do this; I can do this.” It was one of the best compliments ever. As J.M. Barrie reminds us “to have faith is to have wings.”
Garry Peters (Michael) My first encounters with Peter Pan were likely the 1953 Disney film and the 1955 or '56 TV broadcast of the Broadway play, starring Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard. As I was not quite school age at those times, the memories are hazy. I believe I saw the movie, but am not sure. The TV version, gray and grainy on our old Philco set, is pretty well ensconced in dark canyons of my psyche. Two images stand out. One is clear and pretty predictable -- Peter (Mary Martin) soaring over the action in a left to right arc (from my viewpoint). The other image is equally clear -- but a bit bizarre (and ergo, potentially false). There is a large flat spanning the upstage area. Peter is painting some outdoor scenes on it. Maybe this included trees and such, but definitely the front of a house -- first the walls, eaves, and roof line, then a couple of windows. Finally, he drew a door and door knob. In attempting to enter the house, he then opened the newly drawn door. The knob was on the wrong side! It was up against the hinges! I swear, my memory of this odd event is (and has been for eons) as clear as day. Then again, this would have been 1950-something and it's now 2018. So, all bets are off. Oh...by the way...another major encounter I had with Peter Pan...was the Peanut Butter. Yum!!
Tom Swift (Father) When I was a boy in the 50's, there was no such thing as a year without Mary Martin flying into our living room, begging us to save Tinkerbell by clapping! That the children's father was also Captain Hook in Neverland was my first inkling that one actor could play multiple characters, a stunt that I have depended on through sixty years of acting. Disney's version? Sure. Looked great, but nothing in the world could be better than Mary Martin turned to the wall joyously shouting, "My shadow!" Made for great memories of childhood. I didn't want to grow up either, so I decided not to. And have gotten away with it, too -- mostly.
PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER
PRODUCTION ASST/CO-HOUSE MANAGER