by Patrick B. McGuigan
In “Peter Pan,” Cathy Rigby continues the long tradition of middle aged women portraying an adolescent boy whose adventures have thrilled generations of lads. The fine traveling Broadway Show, at Oklahoma City’s Civic Center Music Hall through this weekend, was superior live entertainment.
After two decades in this role, Rigby fits it like a glove. Children and adults alike were enthralled with her opening night performance on Tuesday (September 13). The Olympic gymnast gave it her all, in acrobatic flying sequences, muscular dance performances and believable exchanges with other characters.
The story begins in one generation of the Darling family, led by Father (Tom Hewitt) and Mother (Kim Crosby), then jumps ahead at the end to find Crosby onstage again portraying the next generation’s mother.
In musical form, adapted from the James Barrie play, the show provides something for everyone: adolescent longing, adult wisdom, the tug of first love, the joy of untrammeled liberty, and the affirmation of responsibility. Barrie’s writing endures because it speaks to every generation.
Gentle ballads include “Tender Shepherd,” the night-time prayers of the Darling family children in Nineteenth Century London, and the second’s act “Distant Melody,” a lovely duet shared by Peter Pan and Wendy Darling (Krista Buccallato), the girl Peter Pan takes to “Neverland” to become mother for the Lost Boys.
Story-propelling solos come from Rigby (“I Gotta Crow,” “Neverland,” “I Won’t Grow Up”), supplemented by deft ensembe pieces (“I’m Flying,” “Ugg-a Wugg”) and other numbers.
Supporting cast members match Rigby’s incredible energy and delivery. Of special note, Jenna Wright’s Tiger Lily and Tom Hewitt’s Captain Hook garner stage center repeatedly in powerful performances. Wendy’s siblings were portrayed by Cade Canon Ball as John, and Julia Massey (Jordan Davis in some shows) as Michael.
“Peter Pan” is just the first installment in a fabulous 2011-12 season from Celebrity Attractions. Upcoming productions at Civic Center Music Hall include the musical “Memphis” in its first visit to Oklahoma City, performing November 8-13 at Civic Center. Coming January 17-22 is “The Addams Family” musical comedy based on the classic television show. The percussion masterpiece “Stomp” hits town March 13, 18, and the regular season wraps up May 1-6 with “Fiddler on the Roof.”
A couple of “add-on” productions from Celebrity Attractions will also find strong local audiences. Girls Night will come October 17-20 to the Bruce Owen Theater at Oklahoma City Community College. The beloved musical “Mamma Mia!,” will have a February 15-18 engagement at Civic Center.
Tickets for the show can be found here: http://www.okcciviccenter.com/shows.php Information on all the upcoming shows is available from CelebrityAttractions.com.