Seacoast Repertory Theatre, NH

Peter Pan Will Delight Children Of All Ages

“Listen up, families! Looking for a healthy, heartwarming dose of holiday magic? Peter Pan, on stage at Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth now through January 16, is just what the doctor ordered for anyone – young, old or in between – who might be in too big a hurry to grow up. Gary John La Rosa, who staged The King and I last holiday season, returned to SRT to direct and choreograph this production. In La Rosa's hands, Peter Pan flies head and shoulders above the other entries in the feel-good holiday sweepstakes. It's simple, direct, unpretentious and immediate, and on the night I saw the show it clearly broke through the hard shell of cynicism that forms around the hearts of involuntary shoppers, wherever they might be."

Ross Bachelder – The Portsmouth Herald

Peter Pan A Classic Holiday Alternative

“Exciting and well performed by the Seacoast Repertory Theatre, Peter Pan offers a great choice in holiday productions - what a relief from the usual holiday fare!”

“…and the direction and choreography by Gary John La Rosa are excellent. Hats off to producer Roy Rogosin and director La Rosa.”

Thomas A. Power – Portland Press Herald

Peter Pan Will Delight The Young And Everyone Who Never Wants To Grow Up

“…Seacoast Repertory Theatre's Peter Pan is a magical success.”

“Director Gary John La Rosa makes working with a cast of 16-or-so children look easy…”

“…given its large scale set, La Rosa manages to achieve lively dance routines, and exciting comings and goings.”

“The show is unquestionably colorful. It is accomplished in its numerous difficult carefully timed moments, such as Tinker Bell's blinking, music and movement marriages and the hubbub action in general. It has a lively nature, some wonderful performances and of course terrific flying.”

Jeanne McCartin – Showcase

Peter Pan Soars In Seacoast Rep's Holiday Production

“The Seacoast Repertory Theatre production of Peter Pan, which opened this past weekend, has all ingredients necessary for success: charm, youthful energy, a crocodile, fairy dust, pirates, flying actors who enjoy themselves and a director and designers of boundless imagination.”

“…In eschewing realism for theatricality, Mehler and the director Gary John La Rosa evoke a magical world.”

“Under the guiding hand of La Rosa, who asks his actors to play with a broad emotional palette, creating both character and caricature, this production is a delightful theatrical fantasy.”

La Rosa has taken great care overseeing every aspect of this production. Everyone involved has been encouraged to dream big.”

“See this enjoyable show whenever you can. You are guaranteed to leave the theatre 'think[ing] lovely thoughts'.”

MaryAnn Robertson – The York Weekly

St. Louis Muny, MO

“I agree with Peter Pan, I don’t want to grow up either. But then I wake up and remember I have to work for a living. If you’re going to see Peter Pan, I advise you strongly to take a little one or three along for the ride. It’s a late night to be sure for the wee ones, but it’s also a colorful experience they’ll always remember.”

”Francis Jue plays Peter with all the sense of wonder and adventure you would expect. He's enthusiastic and playful and shows off a pleasant baritone as well. He's especially good on ‘I Gotta Crow’ when he retrieves his missing shadow and ‘I Won't Grow Up’, the song that shares Peter's basic philosophy on life. Robert Westenberg makes a diabolically charming Captain Hook and a warm father Darling. He has a rich voice that works well on numbers like ‘A Princely Scheme’ and ‘Hook's Waltz’.”

Gary John LaRosa directs and the show is a delight. The cast is steady and focused and the wire work is impeccable.”

“Steve Gilliam's scenic design is a fairy tale come to life. The Darling's bedroom interior looks like an ice blue Victorian dollhouse any young girl would die for. Fine choreography by Liza Gennaro and sharp musical direction by Michael Rice add sparkle to the production.”

”A show for children of all ages and adults who'd rather be kids, Peter Pan continues through July 22nd (2007) at the Muny in Forest Park.”

Chris Gibson – KDHX, St. Louis

Peter Pan soars with a man in the lead

“Even though nearly all of the shows at the Muny are family entertainment, for years each summer season has included a children's show. There really aren't many full-scale musicals that qualify for the slot, but this year's selection is one of the best: Peter Pan."

”The Muny has staged this show many times, generally with a female performer in the lead. This production, however, stars Francis Jue, the actor who played the king of Siam last summer in The King and I. It's hard to think of two musical theater roles with less in common.”

”But, surprise! Playing the proud, ambitious ruler in The King and I, Jue showed how talented he is. Now he shows that he's versatile, as well. After Peter tells the Lost Boys that they can go to London to have a real home with the Darlings, leaving him alone with Tinker Bell, he bends with grief — and it's heavy enough to feel.”

”Robert Westenberg makes a very elegant Captain Hook, dryly tossing off famed piratical curses, such as "Split me infinitives!" and "By carbonate of soda!" His big number, "Hook's Waltz," is a delight, choreographed by Liza Gennaro.”

Gary John La Rosa directs with a nice, light hand, showing off the orchestra and the first-class score by Mark Charlap, Carolyn Leigh, Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Steve Gilliam designed the set, lovely in England and enchanting in Neverland. Hook's pirate ship is particularly vivid.”

”This is a full-length show with two intermissions (a good idea, considering the age of many theatergoers). You might want to arrive early, too, to enjoy the pre-show activities for children on the Muny's Lichtenstein Plaza.”

Judith Newmark – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Theatre-By-The-Sea, RI

A darling production of ‘Peter Pan’ in Matunuck

“They’ve got lots to crow about these days at Theatre By The Sea. With remarkable sets, flying children, scores of Indians, pirates and lost boys darting about the stage, and an oversized crocodile and St. Bernard, the theater is presenting an outstanding and lively version of Peter Pan, the timeless and touching tale of the boy who won’t grow up. Kudos to director Gary John La Rosa...”

Nancy Burns-Fusaro – Westerly Sun

Fly down to Matunuck to catch Peter Pan

“The story of the boy who would not grow up is brought to vivid life at Theatre by the Sea in Matunuck.”

“...dazzles, filling the stage with magic and vivaciousness. Theatre by the Sea has returned to its glory days with this, the third production of the season.”

Daniel H. Trafford – Pawtucket Times

“All right, I’ll be the first one to admit that even if I didn’t like the show, I’d be the last one to pan Peter — that is, Theatre By The Sea’s current production of Peter Pan, running through Aug. 8 at the old barn in Matunuck. But the fact is, I loved it.”

“On Theatre By The Sea’s small stage, the flying scenes are quite remarkable.”

“Peter, Wendy, Michael and John take flight singularly and then simultaneously in a magical theater moment as they embark on their journey into the stars. Theatre By The Sea and Gary John La Rosa, who directed the show, assembled an extraordinary cast, including lots of local talent to turn out this memorable production.”

“Any head of a household who doesn’t take the family to see this show ought to be keelhauled at the very least and maybe even forced to walk the plank. It would be a terrible crime to miss it.”

Dave Christner – Mercury

Peter Pan flies high by the sea

“...Gary John La Rosa’s direction keeps everything in focus while moving things along and making characters human.”

“This is a familiar show where you can hum along with the songs and, let’s face it, the first act finale with Peter and the Darlings flying across a starlit sky will always remain one of those scenes that linger long after the show ends.”

Jim Seavor – Motif Magazine

A delightful Peter Pan at Theatre By The Sea

“The theater that is giving us the best Never, Never Land these days is Theatre By the Sea, in a funny, heartfelt production of the 1954 musical Peter Pan.”

“Theatre-by-the-Sea’s attention to detail is really apparent in this production, from the lovely screen in front of the stage, to the delightfully frightening crocodile that slithers around to haunt Capt. Hook with his ticking, to the arrow the Lost Boys mistakenly pierce Wendy Darling with, when she lands in Never Never Land.”

“Peter Pan is the highlight of Theater by the Sea’s season so far. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is an exciting prospect for the summer closer, but Peter Pan, with the swell dancing, tender, sincere performances of all the actors, and those knockout costumes, would be hard to beat.”

Abby Fox – The Narragansett Times

Peter Pan soars at Matunuck

“The only question I would have is whether adults are going to flock to a production of a show that appeals more to kids. Well, opening night the theater was packed with grown-ups who were eating up what they saw. So if you’re in the mood for the show, this rendition directed by Gary John La Rosa, fills the bill.”

Channing Gray – Providence Journal

“Director Gary John La Rosa casts 28 performers in his show with 8 of them children. For the older audience members it will bring back many childhood memories of the Mary Martin television version shown every year on NBC while the younger members will be enthralled at the magical spell it weaves for them, too. This very talented cast will capture your hearts with their excellent rendition and the thunderous applause and standing ovation are the true barometer of all their hard work.”

La Rosa does an excellent job with this huge cast, blocking and directing them expertly. His keen eye is apparent throughout the show and his casting of all the roles is splendid, too. La Rosa also has some poignant moments in the show when Peter begins to remember his mother in ‘Distant Melody’ and when he says goodbye to Wendy and the boys before they are captured by the Pirates. He also makes sure the double entendre lines get their due for the adult crowd to enjoy the merriment as well as the children, too. As the Director’s Note says ‘the magic of the play resides in the way Peter helps us to reconnect with the joys of youth.’”“When the walls part as they fly off for Neverland in the starlit sky, it sends chills up your spine.”

“So for a trip back to the timeless Neverland and the world of Peter Pan, be sure to catch this fabulous show at TBTS before Peter Pan flies out of town. It is a show for audiences of all ages from the very young to the young at heart. (Opening night performance had a six year old and a 98 year old in the crowd.)”

Tony Annicone – Little Rhody Entertainment Writer

“Theatre By The Sea’s production of the timeless children’s classic Peter Pan is a genuine crowd pleaser; a delightful assortment of talent from right here in the Ocean State.”

“…the costumes, songs and dance numbers are a veritable feast for kids, especially those who have little or no prior exposure to musical theater. Even the song titles, which include ‘I Won’t Grow Up,’ ‘I Gotta Crow,’ and ‘Ugg-a-Wugg,’ exemplify the show’s seemingly limitless youthful energy.”

“Keeping with the tradition of casting a female to play Peter Pan, Miller is an absolute delight in the title role. Both her voice and stature could easily be mistaken for that of a preteen male, and she never fails to impress, particularly when suspended in air. Kimmel’s performance as Wendy is as touching as it is engaging and Adams is a natural in the dual roles of Hook and Mr. Darling. Honorable mentions belong to Mercurio and Temel (both from Rhode Island) as the Darling brothers, and Ron Sarro as one of Hook’s henchmen, Mr. Smee.”

“The production and cast, many of whom are from the local area, make for a truly enjoyable evening at the theater.”

Christopher Verleger – Edge Magazine 

“Peter Pan, which plays at Theatre By The Sea through August 8th, is not really about the acting or the singing. Peter Pan, the musical, has always been about James M. Barrie's story and, of course, the spectacle. The book of the musical, with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh and Mark Charlap with additional music by Jules Styne and additional lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green is, for musical theater lovers, a bonus.”

“In this production Cary Michele Miller has been brilliantly cast in the title role of Peter Pan, the boy who won't grow up. Anna Kimmel, as Wendy Darling, joins Miller. Kimmel helps ground the production with her understated performance. The characters' mutual affection is entirely believable. Peter S. Adams completes the trio of main characters as the nefarious Captain Hook. Adams does a fine job with the broad, flamboyant character.”

“The production values of Peter Pan, with three complete sets, scrims and screens is high. An actual orchestra, led by Aaron McAllister adds to the big feel in the little barn.”

“I have always thought that with three acts, none of them short, that Peter Pan was too long for a children's play as well as being a bit too long for adults to sit through. This production didn't change my feeling. It is, however, an esthetically pleasing production of a true Broadway classic.”

Randy Rice –

Peter Pan flies across tiny Matunuck stage

“What is even more amazing is that TBTS, under the direction of Gary John La Rosa, is able to fit this huge show with its cast of over three dozen on its small stage."

“While Peter doesn’t fly over the audience and can’t fly away to Never Never Land, because the stage isn’t very deep, he and his charges still create that wonderful illusion of flying.”

“Theatre-by-the-Sea has engaged a most engaging actress to fill the big shoes of her predecessors. Carol Michele Miller is excellent as Peter Pan, in constant movement, whether running about the stage or flying over it.”

“Peter Pan provides a light, starry-eyed evening of entertainment. Bring the family. If your kids are too old, bring a neighbor’s child; they will love it.”

Don Fowler – Warwick Beacon

Theatre By The Sea explores its inner child

“While the musical of "Peter Pan" occasionally seems more dated than timeless, Theatre By The Sea retains much of the charm and magic of the story in a production that seems especially suited for kids.
Buoyed by terrific performances in the lead roles by Cary Michele Miller as Pan and Peter S. Adams, who plays both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook, the Matunuck musical moves along at a nimble pace. And under the direction of Gary John La Rosa, the play serves up enough laughs and enchantments to excuse the odd glitch.”

“On opening night, the most breathtaking of the flying sequences was Pan's arrival, popping through an open window on a starry evening. The conclusion of the first act was also a highlight, as Pan soars up and down while the Darling children swoop back and forth against the backdrop of a full moon.”

“Tinker Bell is conveyed cleverly – not to spoil the surprise – flitting about as a mix of light and sound that works so convincingly, you start believing that you can hear the jealousy in her bells. More low-tech, but ingeniously effective, is the crocodile (Nick Nelson), which dashes around the stage comically on what appears to be a skateboard under its belly in lethal pursuit of Captain Hook.”

“Miller is a joy as Pan, showing off a nice singing voice, terrific comic timing and the physicality necessary in the role. Adams is every bit her equal, especially in the preening role of the vengeful pirate. In one of the play's best sequences, he sings of his scheme to entrap Pan to a tango.”

“One other lingering thought: While the story is aimed at the child inside everyone, there is a darker aspect. It's particularly acute in the weeks since one of America's biggest child stars, who built a ranch called Neverland, died under such tragic and sordid circumstances, the embodiment of a man who never wanted to grow up. Pan's choice to remain a child forever might keep the story alive for future generations – and maybe this is just an observation by a jaded grownup – but there's always been something that feels jarring and uneasy about applauding that decision.

“Pan even alludes to that conflict, when he tells an older Wendy that she's too old to go back to Neverland. But the down note doesn't last, Wendy's daughter flies, and shadows disappear in the light and music of escape and enchantment, much to the joy of the children in the house.”

Doug Norris – South County Independent

© 2024 Gary John La Rosa