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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 13, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 02
Find Finding Neverland or be a Lost Boy
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Find Finding Neverland or be a Lost Boy

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

FINDING NEVERLAND,
THE MUSICAL
PARAMOUNT THEATRE
Now playing
Through January 15


Finding Neverland is the Broadway musical telling of how Peter Pan came to be, and about the author J.M. Barrie who created the beloved classic. Based on the movie by the same name, and the stage play that inspired that, the musical brings that inspiring story to life with creative twists all wrapped in a delightful presentation.

The story is set towards the closing of the 19th century in London. After enjoying a list of hits, and near hits, the playwright J.M. Barrie is discovering the challenges of creating something new. After a chance meeting in Kensington Garden with Ms. Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her four young boys, Mr. Barrie finds himself captivated by the imagination of the family, especially the eldest (who wants to be a writer) named Peter. As Barrie finds himself getting further involved with the Llewelyn Davies family, conflicts emerge with his writing, the theatre manager, and Barrie's wife, to say the least, creating greater problems for the playwright.

The entire cast of this show all work together to do a fantastic job. While there are several characters that may be perceived as over the top ('Lord Cannan' or 'the butlers'), none go beyond what is called for and they make a humorous addition to the show. While several children appear throughout the production (as might be expected), none of them break characters, expressions, or attempt to be 'scene-stealing cute.' All involved, children and adults alike, are highly enjoyable and do wonderful jobs.

The three main characters all work well with each other and seem to be having a good time on stage. Christine Dwyer, who portrays Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, is not a stranger to center stage roles having starred in Wicked and Rent. While this role is a little more demure, it is none-the-less still a challenging role and Ms. Dwyer handles it beautifully. Her voice is clear and pure enjoyment. Kevin Kern, as J.M. Barrie, does a wonderful job that easily captures the audiences' attention and empathy immediately. His stage presence is firm without being a threat, and the audience is charmed as easily as the children on stage. His voice is good and he handles the subtle vocal challenges well in each song. Tom Hewitt does an excellent job as the stage manager Charles Frohman and as J.M. Barrie's antagonist counterpart, Captain James Hook. Mr. Hewitt brings the menacing Captain to life without being campy or shtick His deep voice works well with the music and lyrics taking control without being overpowering. It is easy to understand why he has been Tony Award-nominated in the past.

Finding Neverland is a delightful and charming musical. It's creative and fun with good music and lyrics (by Gary Barlow & Eliot Kennedy) and a script (by James Graham) that differs slightly from the two previous sources. While the biographical accuracy may be called into question at times, one must remember it is a musical biography; and therefore liberties are expected to be taken.



Finding Neverland opened on Broadway May 15, 2015 and ran for 565 performances. Mathew Morrison was nominated (Drama Desk Award - Outstanding Performance in a Musical) for his portrayal as J.M. Barrie, as was Carolee Carmello for her performance as Mrs. Du Maurier. Finding Neverland is based on the 2004 film starring Johnny Depp. The film is based on the 1998 Off-Broadway play, The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee.

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Find Finding Neverland or be a Lost Boy
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