A Peek at Piedmont’s Production of Peter & the Starcatcher

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(From left to right) Carly Jelinek, Hunter Reum, Carson Letner, Dakota Rose Chen and Gabriel Richman pose as the children fight against the pirates. PHOTO//TYLER PELLEGRINO

Hannah Osborne, Managing Editor

Charm, humor and mischief characterize Piedmont University Theatre Department’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” a tale that sets the scene on the well-known and beloved story of Peter Pan, the Lost Boys and Wendy Darling. 

“Peter and the Starcatcher” was adapted for the stage by Rick Elice with music by Wayne Barker, based on the novel by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson. The story of the lost boy Peter Pan is given new life with a look at how his adventures in Neverland began. “Peter and the Starcatcher” tales Peter’s origins as an orphan, without even a name to claim as his own. He, along with two other orphans, Prentiss and Ted, is set upon the ship, “Neverland,” to be sold as slaves. Upon this ship, they form an unlikely friendship with the daughter of a Lord, Molly Aster, an aspiring “star-catcher.” Throughout the show, the four face trial and tribulation against unfamiliar names, such as Bill Slank and The Black Stache, as Molly strives to fulfill her father’s mission.

Piedmont University’s production is directed by Professor John Spiegel and co-directed by senior Sierra Maxwell. Freshmen Dakota Rose Chen makes a stunning Swanson Mainstage debut, playing the character Molly. Chen plays the opposite of Gabriel Richman, who is playing Peter.

Gabriel Richman poses as “Boy” (Peter Pan). PHOTO//JOSEPHINE “JO” COLLINSON

“This show has been so much fun to work on for so many reasons. It’s fantastical, magical and whimsical,” says senior Sierra Maxwell. “This has been my first experience as an assistant director here at Piedmont, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience during my senior year.”

From the wings to the fly system, this crew left no stone unturned in the transformation of the stage into the deck of a ship that would rival any worthy storybook depiction. This transformation, combined with the meticulous use of sound components, immerses the audience in the story. Spectators are further entranced by the live musical performances provided by James Geiger, who joins the cast in a number of scenes onstage. 

Each cast member dons a costume crafted by senior Mary Gaines that communicates exactly who the characters are and the role they play in the story. Gaines designed the costumes for the show as part of her senior Capstone project, a project that is required from graduating seniors that encapsulates the skills and work they have accomplished while enrolled in the University. 

The stars of the show, Chen and Richman, deliver great chemistry as their respective characters bloom along with their budding relationship; chemistry that is only intensified as the second act ensues. 

“Getting the opportunity to work with such talented people and getting to learn from them has been so enriching, and I’m grateful for their guidance. I love the fun and playful story it tells, and I feel like I’ve grown so much working under John’s directing,” says Chen.

“Peter and the Starcatcher” crosses the t’s and dots the i’s on all the questions and unknowns of how Peter Pan’s eternal childhood began. The show creates and delivers new and intrinsic ideas of how beloved characters of the original story came to be. Such as a certain captain with a hook and a crocodile with a clock. 

Piedmont’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher” is nothing short of hysterical, a show that will please children and adults alike. The comedic timing, especially of characters such as Mrs. Bumbrake, played by senior Dante Wilson, and The Black Stache, played by sophomore Hunter Reum, is impeccable. Wilson gives a noteworthy performance as the bumbling Mrs. Bumbrake, a character fond of alliteration and unashamed to steal the spotlight time and time again. 

“I’ve learned so much about directing: patience, a newfound respect for a hardworking cast and crew and a deeper passion for directing than I knew before,” says Maxwell. “I’m so proud of our cast and crew and all the amazing work they’ve put into this wonderful show.”

“Peter and the Starcatcher” is a performance that will not want to be missed.

“Peter & the Starcatcher” will be performed on Oct. 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. to purchase and reserve tickets, call the box office at 706-778-8500 x 1355 or visit https://www.piedmont.edu/calendar_event/peter-and-the-starcatcher/