For Celaine Worden, director and choreographer of McPherson Community Theatre's upcoming production of "Peter Pan," getting to tell the tale of the boy who never grew up brings back fond childhood memories.
"It is a timeless, classic story," Worden said.
Worden said she first heard the tale of Peter Pan — and Tinkerbell, Captain Hook, Smee and the crocodile — when her mother told it to her as the family a long train trip across the country.
"It was my favorite story growing up," Worden said.
The Broadway musical version of "Peter Pan" includes songs such as "I'm Flying," "I Won't Grow Up" and "I've Gotta Crow."
McPherson Community Theatre's production includes around 40 cast members and dozens of additional crew members.
"It's kind of been a group effort; everyone has done their part," Worden said.
Audrey Fox returns to McPherson Community Theatre in the title role, while Ashley Achilles, Nathan Stecklein and Lainey Worden play Wendy, John and Michael Darling, respectively. Thanks to a little stage magic, all four will soar through the air during the musical.
It took a bit of imagination and ingenuity to bring the show into the McPherson Opera House.
Scott Steinert, who plays Smee in the musical, also designed a set which transforms from a British nursery into Neverland and finally into a pirate ship.
"He was really creative in using the limited space," Worden said. "...We've also had to be really creative with our choreography and our movement."
Worden was responsible for the actor's dance steps on stage and cast member Robert Thomas taught them stage combat.
"There is a fight scene on the pirate ship with the warriors, the Lost Boys and the pirates," Worden said.
Instead of the warriors portrayed in "Peter Pan" being Native Americans, Worden took inspiration from the recent "Wonder Woman" movie and transformed the characters into an all-female group of Amazon warriors.
"We've tried to update that and make it a little more modern," Worden said. "...They're strong women, so that's fun. We have them entering from all sides, even into the aisles, to give the audience that feeling that they're really immersed in the show."
"Peter Pan" will be performed at 7 p.m. on June 20-22 and June 27-29 with additional matinee performances at 2 p.m. on June 23 and 30 at the McPherson Opera House, 219 S. Main St. Tickets are $16 to $18 and can be purchased at https://mcphersonoperahouse.ticketforce.com or by calling 620-241-1952.
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