Lead role sends young ac­tress soar­ing

North Shore Times - - OUT & ABOUT - KASHKA TUN­STALL

An Al­bany stu­dent will play Wendy in a new mu­si­cal ver­sion of Peter Pan that puts the young woman at the cen­tre of the story.

The Na­tional Youth Theatre Com­pany (NYTC) is stag­ing the show at the Aotea Cen­tre next month, where Kris­ten School, year 12 stu­dent Alice Han­son will star in the lead role on open­ing night.

The new mu­si­cal from New Zealan­ders Jonathan Alver and James Doy mod­ernises the clas­sic JM Bar­rie tale, and the pair have writ­ten 19 orig­i­nal songs for the pro­duc­tion.

Han­son, 17, was se­lected to play the lead role in Au­gust, and has been re­hears­ing for the past four months, while bal­anc­ing school­work and pre­par­ing for end-of-year ex­ams.

Play­ing Wendy has been a com­mit­ment far be­yond learn­ing lines - the cast recorded the orig­i­nal mu­sic in a stu­dio to put to­gether a CD that will be sold and Han­son had to at­tend cir­cus school to learn how to fly on wires.

‘‘It’s been a re­ally unique and amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ she said.

‘‘They put to­gether a show that is so, so cool. The mu­sic be­hind it is just be­yond.’’

Han­son has pre­vi­ously played Maria in West­side Story, Nancy in Oliver, and Shar­pay in High School Mu­si­cal. She be­lieved this new show was some­thing spe­cial, as it had a new mes­sage she hoped would res­onate with au­di­ences.

‘‘What makes this show so orig­i­nal is that there’s also a po­lit­i­cal

‘‘They put to­gether a show that is so, so cool. The mu­sic be­hind it is just be­yond.’’

Alice Han­son

as­pect of women’s eq­uity and em­pow­er­ment, which is ex­cit­ing, and which mod­ernises it a bit.’’

Three other Kris­ten stu­dents will also join Han­son on stage for the pro­duc­tion - Mitchell Sta­bles will play Cap­tain Hook’s right­hand man Smee, Alisa D’Mello will Peter Pan’s sec­ond in com­mand Too­tles and Wil­liam Abel has the part of Lost Boy Slightly.

More than 280 young per­form­ers be­tween the ages of 7 and 21 will be on stage in ro­tat­ing casts across the show’s run.

Around 5000 school stu­dents will see the show in school pre­views. At least 2000 of those will be from schools ranked as decile 4 and be­low who the theatre com­pany will spon­sor by cov­er­ing the cost of the tick­ets and travel.

Peter Pan will run from Fri­day, De­cem­ber 8 to Satur­day, De­cem­ber 9 at the ASB Theatre in the Aotea Cen­tre.

SUP­PLIED

Kristin School stu­dents Wil­liam Abel, Alice Han­son, Mitchell Sta­bles and Alisa D’Mello will star in a new mu­si­cal take on Peter Pan.

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