Cheer up, kid
‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ a theatrical mood tonic.
Does the state of the world have you feeling glum, chum? Slow Burn Theatre and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts have the ideal antidote to newsfeed-induced upset: “Peter and the Starcatcher,” an escapist theatrical tonic for serious times.
Based on Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s 2004 bestselling children’s novel “Peter and the Starcatchers” (yes, there’s an extra “S” in the book’s title), the inventive play was adapted for the stage by “Jersey Boys” book co-author Rick Elice.
This prequel to “Peter Pan” has flown from the La Jolla Playhouse in 2009 to off-Broadway in 2011, Broadway in 2012, back to off-Broadway in 2013 and to numerous regional theaters, including a collaborative production by Miami’s Arsht Center and the University of Miami in 2014. Nicholas Richberg, who played hammy-tothe-bone pirate Black Stache (aka the future Captain Hook) in that production, received the Carbonell Award as best actor in a play in 2015 for his exquisitely over-thetop performance in that version.
This time, Clay Cartland (who, coincidentally, won the best actor in a musical Carbonell in 2015) gets to don the pirate king’s black handlebar mustache. Cartland’s hammy Black Stache? Irresistible.
Staged in the Broward Center’s Abdo New River Room by Slow Burn director-choreographer Patrick Fitzwater, “Peter and the Starcatcher” is performed by a dozen actors (11 men and one woman) who delight in the play’s celebration of theatrical makebelieve.
Several future “Peter Pan” characters figure into the prequel, though it takes some time for their identities to solidify.
The boy who will become Peter Pan is at first a nameless orphan called Boy (Jordon Armstrong). His orphan buddies and future Lost Boys are the pushy Prentiss (Robert Fritz) and the ravenous Ted (Corey Vega). The three are sold to the ruthless Bill Slank, captain of the old ship Neverland, who tells the boys that they’re bound for the kingdom of Rundoon, where they’ll become helpers to the king — though Slank has a far deadlier fate in mind for them.
Also onboard the Neverland is the plucky, brainy Molly Aster (Krystal Millie Valdes), who will grow up to become the mother of Wendy Darling. Her father, Lord Aster (Matthew Korinko), is traveling aboard the much faster ship the Wasp on a secret mission for Queen Victoria. That’s where Black Stache, his henchman Smee (a gleeful Cameron Jordan) and their motley pirate crew enter the action. Soon enough, Black Stache will discover that greed is not good — and in his case, it’s downright painful.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” runs through Nov. 26 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale See browardcenter.org for showtimes. Tickets cost $45. Call 954-422-2662 or go to Browardcenter.org.
Several future “Peter Pan” characters figure into the prequel, but it takes some time for identities to solidify.