(photos courtesy of Dan Ledbetter)
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy’s Upper School Theatre Department presented Peter and the Starcatcher 4/16-4/18 at CHCA’s Lindner Theater. This delightful tale was directed and choreographed by CHCA’s Director of Theatre, Susan Jung, Technical Direction by Jim Jung, and Stage Management by senior Vicki Rezman, sophomore Ainsley Keyes, and freshman Jacob Kaesemeyer.
The Tony-winning Peter and the Starcatcher, by Rick Elice, upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be ‘The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up’ (a.k.a. Peter Pan). It is a wildly theatrical adaptation of Dave Barry’s and Ridley Pearson’s best-selling novels. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, Peter and the Starcatcher playfully explores the depths of greed and despair... and the bonds of friendship, duty, and love.
With only four weeks to prepare this fast-paced show after finishing up one of the most difficult musicals, Beauty and the Beast, all who were involved stepped up and put on a fantastic performance. The entire play is filled with quick-witted dialogue, most notably by Black Stache, played by senior Mackenzie Carnes. (Theater life came full circle for Carnes as she originally played the part of Captain Hook in her grade 7 production of Peter Pan JR.) Her hilarious sidekick, Smee, was played by senior Alyssa Conley.
Before he receives the name Peter Pan, “Boy” is played by freshman Brian Jung. His adventures with fellow orphans Prentiss (senior Jonah Bolander) and Ted (freshman Noah McRedmond) are filled with hilarious conversations and antics that had the audience in lots of laughter. Jung took his character from quiet orphan to adventure-filled boy, to finding his name and purpose (with the help of Teacher, portrayed by sophomore Abby Rosenfeldt) with ease. Also, fun to watch was the romance that brewed between Mrs.Bumbrake (senior Chloe Griffor) and Alf (senior Matthew Saxby).
One of the most delightful parts of the show featured freshman Natalie Hudepohl, who played the part of Molly Aster with spunk and maturity. Her confidence on stage as she led the boys through their adventures was fun for audience-goers to watch. The chemistry between her and Jung was especially sweet with their notable “good-bye” near the end of the show.
Leading many scenes as Fighting Prawn was junior Jackson Rebhun, who has proved he can carry a scene in any show, any genre! Sophomore Tyler Gage did a great job portraying the villain Captain Bill Slank. Portraying the role of Lord Leonard Aster was junior Henry Heimlich who always delivers his lines with maturity.
The talent of the entire ensemble was incredible, and the students did an amazing job with a quick pace and multiple facets of the show. Whether portraying narrators, sailors, pirates, mollusks, or mermaids, it was a true team collaboration to keep the show moving, and as a result, there were many special moments and audience favorites. Even the student production team found themselves on stage more than usual accomplishing things such as creatively making ocean waves with blue tarps to literally breaking a ship in half.
Director Susan Jung traditionally shares her thoughts of each show she produces in the playbill. An excerpt from this one is as follows:
“When I was younger, I would purposely get lost in the woods and imagine I was somewhere exotic and make a fort for myself. When my kids were young, there was a small wood not far from our home and the boys would find different objects left there and made a “clubhouse” out of those things. While trying to envision a concept for this show, I thought of how fun that was, and what if it was an entire junkyard and a group of kids who loved to play and pretend there? And then what if those kids created an entire show and then invited people to the junkyard to come see it? They would have almost no money and have to rely on a whole lot of creativity and a whole lot of duct tape. And so, here we are.”
CHCA’s Fine Arts Director Mona Summers shared of the show, “Congratulations to the cast, student production team, directors, and volunteers on another outstanding full-length production. It was great to see seasoned actors as well as many of our younger students shine in this Peter Pan prequel. The show was full of humor and light-hearted fun – giving our students a very different theatre experience than our other two productions this season. To complete our season, we look forward to the theatrical concert on May 4th featuring students in grades 7-9, directed by grade 10-12 students.”
Bravo to the entire cast, student production team, orchestra, and directors!
***Important note*** CHCA’s theater was only at 25% capacity, so tickets sales were limited. However, the show will be live streamed on 4/30 at 7:00 p.m., 5/1 at 7:00 p.m., and 5/2 at 2:00 p.m. You can get your tickets and access here.
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