PRINCETON — Festival 56 will present “Peter and the Starcatcher” July 20-26 at Princeton’s Grace Performing Arts Center.
The play, written by Rick Elice, is an adaptation of “Peter and the Starcatchers,” a book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Both book and play serve as a prequel to J. M. Barrie’s famous story about Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up.
Ridley’s 5-year-old daughter served as the inspiration for Peter and the Starcatchers. When Ridley was reading Peter Pan to her, she asked, “How did Peter meet Captain Hook in the first place?” This led Ridley to wonder how the boy could fly and why he would never grow old. To answer all these questions, Ridley and the humorist Dave Barry decided to collaborate on a book.
The play version, titled “Peter and the Starcatcher,” has music by Wayne Barker and is a fast-paced, irreverent blend of myth, fantasy, spoof and fairy tale. It is also a celebration of courage, loyalty and kindness. Quickly sketched scenes feature trunks with secret contents, an expanding crocodile named Mr. Grin, mermaids in a golden grotto, the evil pirate Black Stache who would become Captain Hook, and of course the orphan boys led by Peter.
The action moves through two ships and their decks, cabins and bilges, to an island with a beach, jungle and mountaintop. The singular starcatcher in the play’s title is Molly, who grows up in the classic story to watch her daughter, Wendy, fly away with Peter Pan.
Festival 56’s 2018 summer production is directed by Tim Seib and sponsored by Princeton Pharmacy. Season sponsors are Heartland Bank and Trust, Princeton Tourism and Visitors Bureau, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. July 20, 21, 24 and 26, with 2 p.m. matinees on July 22 and 25.
The Grace Performing Arts Center is located at 316 S. Main St. in Princeton and is fully accessible with public parking nearby. To purchase tickets, visit www.festival56.com, call 815-879-5656, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the theater. The box office is open noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and one hour before performances. Tickets are $29, $26 (seniors 65+) and $14 (students). Beer, wine, soft drinks and the famous Festival 56 cheesecake are available for sale at the lobby bar. For further information, contact the box office at 815-879-5656.