The Theatre Arts program of the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University (SOU) presents the Tony Award-winning Peter and the Starcatcher at the Craterian Theater in Medford.
Based on Peter and the Starcatchers, the popular children’s book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher serves as a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, providing answers to such questions as, “Where exactly is Neverland? How did the Lost Boys become lost? And when did Peter learn to fly?”
Written by Rick Elice, Peter and the Starcatcher was a huge hit on Broadway, winning five Tony awards in 2014, and earning nearly universal critical acclaim. New York magazine called it “miraculous,” exclaiming, “spectacle, wit, and joy spill out of this play like treasure from a magic pocket.”
Beyond the play’s appeal as a Peter Pan prequel, Peter and the Starcatcher also wins audiences with its do-it-yourself, story-theater aesthetic, according to David McCandless, SOU Professor of Theater, who is directing the production. “The play has a delightful, catch-as-catch-can quality,” McCandless explains. “At its heart, it’s just a bunch of actors with a few props telling a story. It’s a great show for audiences of all ages.”
The play is also genuinely witty, according to McCandless. “It’s full of cheeky humor and dazzling language,” he remarks. “It’s the funniest play I’ve read in a long time.” In addition, while not exactly a musical, the play boasts hearty, catchy songs composed by Wayne Barker. According to McCandless, “the play is also a love story, as Peter comes into his own through his close friendship with the extraordinary Molly Aster, the play’s heroine.”
Peter and the Starcatcher will play at the Craterian Theater in Medford because SOU’s theatre building is being readied for a long-delayed renovation. “To paraphrase a line from Shakespeare in Love, SOU had a play, and we had a theater,” said Stephen McCandless, Executive Director of the Craterian. The McCandless brothers grew up in Medford and pursued careers in other locales until their separate professional trajectories returned them to the Rogue Valley.
The cast of Peter and the Starcatcher includes Bernard Hefner, Ethan Hennes, John Alan Hulbert, Grant Luecke, Alex Magni, Samantha Miller, Meghan Nealon, Nolan Sanchez, Kyle Sanderson, Eric Solis, Jonah Thorpe-Kramp, Krista Unverferth, and Tavis Williams. The design team consists of Sean O’Skea (set), Michael Stanfill (lighting), Estrella Page-Lopez (costumes), and Reilly Schrader-Dee (sound). Jennifer Schloming provides musical direction, and Cailey McCandless choreography. Melissa Hampton serves as stage manager, with Andy Palstring as technical director.
Performances take place Friday, May 26 at 7:30 pm, Saturday May 27 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, and Sunday, May 28 at 2 pm at the Craterian Theater in Medford, at 23 S Central Ave, Medford, OR 97501.
Tickets are being sold through the Craterian Theater Box Office. Tickets are: $22 general admission and $10 for youth (ages 6-20). Tickets can be purchased online at craterian.org or by calling 541.779.3000
(Left to Right) SOU students performing in Peter and the Starcatcher. Eric Solis as Smee, Kyle Sanderson as Black Stache, Jonah Thorpe-Kramp as Peter, and Meghan Nealon as Molly.