I’m going to take a break from the dinner party series, because I was so blown away by the performance I watched last night that I wanted to write about it while it was still fresh. I had been meaning to go to Peter and the Starcatcher for months, especially after all the rave reviews, but it wasn’t until I saw that it was ending it’s run on Jan. 20th that I rushed to get tickets.
If you don’t know anything about the show, here’s a quick synopsis: it’s the prequel to Peter Pan; we learn how Peter and the lost boys end up on Neverland, and why they can’t grow up. We learn where Tinkerbell comes from and how Captain Hook loses his hand. The show was hilarious. I couldn’t help but feel like I was a kid playing in a fort the whole time; it was so fun and childlike.The mix of high-brow and low-brow humor was perfection.
One of the reasons why I love live theater is because you get to be a part of the show. When the audience is really into it the performers get into it even more and suddenly the whole show is elevated. There were scenes when the audience could not contain its laughter and the actors were just lapping it up, taking the jokes even further. You could tell they were having the time of their lives.
When the show ended the audience gave the entire ensemble a standing ovation (normally that’s reserved for the leads). And then the moment that struck me the most. Before the bows were over the Playwrite, Rick Elice, ran on stage and asked us to stay for a moment. He told us that for the first time ever the four understudies, who had been with the show since its inception, were all performing together that night. He went on to explain what a huge deal this was, how these people come to rehearsal every day, memorize all the lines for every part in the show, and attend every performance on the chance that they will be needed last minute. All this without the gratification of ever performing in front of an audience. The show cannot function without great understudies and yet they are so under-appreciated He asked us to give them the applause that they have earned for over a year of hard work.
Then he said that the man who was playing Black Stash, the role that almost had me peeing in my pants, John Sanders, was playing the role for the first time ever and that his whole family was there, including his grandmother who flew in just to see him perform. The entire theater rumbled with the intense applause. Sometimes Broadway can feel so polished and distant, but I was blown away be how heartfelt and warm this impromptu reception was. Rick even read a poem that he wrote honoring the hard work of the understudies. There was a lot of HeSo that night!
On a side note: This play is moving to Off-Broadway, so if you haven’t seen it yet there will still be a chance in the future!