Friday, May 18, 2007

Musical Moments--Peter Pan

One of my favorite stories of all time is that of Peter Pan. Whether it's the Disney version or the Broadway version or the original James Barrie, there is something about the story that moves me; something about believing in something strong enough that it comes true. I know I'm not alone in this, for no matter how many times the show is revived, an audience full of hard-boiled New York theatre goers never fails to applaud loud enough to bring Tinkerbell back to life. The other moment that gets me every time is when the Darling children think lovely enough thoughts that they fly for the first time. This happens in the number "I'm Flying," which is the clip I've included here. I cry like a baby. Happens every time. Instant water works.

The score for Peter Pan was written by Jule Styne with Book and Lyrics by Comden & Green and Carolyn Leigh. There were three major productions of Peter Pan on Broadway, the original in 1954 with Mary Martin, the 1979 production with Sandy Duncan (seen here) and the most recent in 1999 with Cathy Rigby. I have the Mary Martin filmed-for-television version on tape and the DVD of Cathy Rigby. (Yes, I'm a dork.) I also saw the Rigby production live and it remains one of my most precious theatre-going memories ever.

I attended a benefit performance of the show for the Actors Fund of America which champions such causes as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative, The Actors Work Program among others. Many Broadway shows do these benefit performances and they are always so much fun to attend. The cast, crew and musicians volunteer their time and there is a tremendous sense of community in that everyone in the theatre, including the audience, is united in the cause.

I brought my then 6 year old niece, Katie, and my mother to the show. I happened to know one of the keyboard players in the pit who arranged for us to go backstage after the show, walk around on the set of a real Broadway stage, tryout Nana's doghouse and even get to meet Cathy Rigby who could not have been more lovely or gracious to my little niece. She sent Katie home with a pocket full of fairy dust that my niece says she still has somewhere. It was a truly magical experience.

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At 2:08 PM, Blogger The Flaming Curmudgeon said...

Oh, I cry like a baby TOO when they fly. I saw the Cathy Rigby revival a few years back and LORD, was I sobbing. I guess it must be some sort of genetic gay dream of mine to fly?

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Curtis said...

Oh how cool!

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Palm Springs Savant said...

fun stuff...I had a similar sensation with Wicked, when Elphaba finally flies in the Defying Gravity Scene. She believed in herself. Good stuff

At 8:43 PM, Blogger kevin said...

Believe it or not, i have never seen Peter Pan!

Kev in NZ


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