Feb 16, 2019
Finding Neverland: Opening Night
By Broadway Live INSIDER - Michael J. Miller
Broadway Live’s already strong season soars to lovely new heights with the national touring production of FINDING NEVERLAND this weekend at the Opera House.
Inspired by the heart touching true story of how the famed writer J. M. Barrie came to create one of the most beloved and enduring characters in literature – Peter Pan- NEVERLAND is a musical cordial replete with pure imagination and pixie dust.
The show is an adaptation of the Oscar winning movie from 2004 movie of the same name that starred Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. It played on Broadway for 17 months in 2015 and 2016. While it garnered mixed reviews from critics, it became a fan favorite, winning the Audience Choice Award for Best Musical on www.Broadway.com and has been touring ever since.
The creative team made some significant changes from the Broadway version, including the addition of a thrilling new opening number called “Welcome to London” that immediately transports the audience to turn of the 20th century Kensington Gardens, where Barrie finds himself with a case of writer’s block in desperate need of renewed inspiration. His earlier works were grand successes, but his most recent play has flopped, and his high-strung American producer is hungry for a new hit.
At this turning point he comes across a spirited widow named Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her young sons. Three of the boys are frolicking around the park playing pirates, but the fourth boy, named Peter, sits quietly, soulfully contemplating the death of his father. This loss has him of a mind that he’s now too grown up for silly pirate games.
Barrie is inspired by the boys and becomes a close friend of the family, becoming their constant playmate and dreaming up wild tales of children who can fly, mythical mermaids and, as you might have guessed, an alternative universe he calls Neverland. Neverland- meant to entertain the boys and help them forget their sorrows, especially the mournful Peter.
All of this, of course, becomes the genesis for Barrie’s new play, Peter Pan.
FINDING NEVERLAND is full of fantasy and Broadway bling. Directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus (“Pippin,” “Hair”) with a book by Olivier Award nominee James Graham.
The touring cast gives it their all and the production dazzles with lighting and visual effects, but one of the key highlights is the choreography from Mia Michaels, the Emmy winning judge and choreographer from TV’s hit show “So You Think You Can Dance”. Her signature modern take on movement has more hops than a West Sixth IPA.
FINDING NEVERLAND will delight you. Hook, chorus line, and Tinker.