Before I left for the epic road trip to Florida and back, I spent the night before at the the wonderful New World Stages in New York City. In January, it was announced that the Tony award winning production would be closing up shop on Broadway but returning a few months later to a smaller space off-Broadway. Such a fantastic re-invention for a show that is so cozy, it practically oozes with the off-Broadway feel.
After seeing it twice on Broadway, I didn’t think I would automatically fall out of love with this show. It’s too creative, too funny (even if I’ve memorized some of the jokes), and brings so much love and magic to the stage. It’s going to be a long time before another pre-Peter Pan story grabs me quite like this one has.
(In case you didn’t know: Peter and the Starcatcher is a play based on the book series by Ridley Scott and Dave Barry. This play follows Molly Aster, a precocious and independent young girl who finds herself separated from her father and on a pirate trip. She befriends three orphans, and soon they team up to make sure Starstuff — a very powerful and magical substance — does not end up in the wrong hands. In the meantime, Black Stash is searching for his identity with the help of his right hand man, Smee.)
One thing I noticed on that Thursday evening in March: the audience was truly delighted and excited about this production. And for live theatre, that reaction and enthusiasm makes all the difference. It was so nice to see familiar faces like Kevin Del Aguila (a fantastic Smee) and Matt D’Amico (Slank), as well as Ginnifer Goodwin look-alike Nicole Lowrence as Molly. In an interesting shake up, Rich Holmes who originated the role of Lord Aster in the Broadway production is now parading around in the very large boots of Black Stache. The role of the villain (in search of the arch-enemy that will give him his mojo back) is so incredibly demanding, and Holmes is funny and his timing is well-paced. I do think, it will take a few performances before he comes into his own in the character. (How hard it must be to follow Tony winner Christian Borle!)
I laughed, I cried. (The script was even amended a bit to include their move to a new space.) The sets never looked more beautiful (I could stare at it for days, especially the change between the two acts) and the close quarters made the play feel like the best-acted bedtime story you’ve ever heard.
I really can’t stop recommending this show enough, and I am beyond thrilled it will gain more of a following over at the New World Stages.