The show is just magic, MHS drama teacher Candice Wilder said of Peter Pan. It is really magical! The cast, crew, teachers and audience would agree that magic was a perfect term to describe the Morgan High School musical production of Peter Pan. It’s a magic moment that I can’t explain, Stage Manager Jaycee Cook said of when the cast and crew came together and everything clicked. I think the show really reflected the hard work of all the actors, she explained. The performances on Nov. 20, 21, 22 and 24, were magical and exciting, but as Cook described, hard work went into putting on such an incredible show. The main characters were cast six months ago. With such incredible talent and support, the decision was made to double cast almost the entire show. Peter Pan was performed by Wisper Pentz and Maddie Russell, who led the lost boys and won the heart of Wendy. Wendy was played by Anna Tibbitts and Shaylee Hatt, who followed Pan to Neverland. Austin Cloninger was the despicably charming Captain Hook for both casts. Capris Johnson also performed in both casts, however she had dual roles as Nana the Darling family’s protective dog, as well as Hook’s foe the crocodile. The bulk of the characters were cast just after school began and everyone has worked very hard. I love seeing when they reach their potential, Wilder said happily. She says there is a sparkle in their eye when they accomplish something they set out to do. As their teacher she is proud to know she is a part of that. Lost Boys Molly Stout and Kinley Rappleye are new to acting. After their first experience performing for an audience, they ran back to the drama room crying with excitement. They were happy for their great performance, and Wilder was too. Tarra Weppner brought Tinkerbell to life with the help of a special green light on loan from Centerpoint Theatre. Weppner was praised for her great timing and abilities that brought enchantment to the musical. She’s been amazing, Wilder noted. Weppner had great concentration and was dedicated to the cast attending every rehearsal. I love being able to work with everyone, Cook said. She has been involved in a range of positions at the theater including acting, tech, and stage managing. The latter is her favorite, That’s where I’m most at home. The cast sang a variety of songs throughout the show. Mysterious Lady was a favorite of the crowd as well as Morgan High Choir teacher Michael Mills. It is just plain hilarious, the music director said of the song sang by a veiled Peter Pan and an infatuated Captain Hook. While Mills enjoyed the comedy of Mysterious Lady, his very favorite was Distant Melody a beautiful lullaby sung by Peter and Wendy to the lost boys. The melody is beautiful and our casts both sang it so well, Mills stated. It also reminds me of my own kids and how much I love singing them a song before bed. My favorite thing every year is seeing the transformation from arbitrary lines and songs to a real work of art. During one dress rehearsal the lost boys were singing and came to a line ÷Neverland will always be the home of youth and joy and liberty.’ They sounded awesome! Mills said enthusiastically. But, even more, they sang with passion. It’s by far one of the hardest parts in the music and we had spent so much time to get it right, Mills said. Definitely a proud moment for me. The show didn’t come together with only the cost of hard work, but also a hefty price tag. Wilder explained that Peter Pan has the most expensive playrights that can be purchased. Sir J.M. Barries who originally wrote Peter Pan left the rights to the story to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital in the 1930s. To this day every time Peter Pan is performed money is donated to the hospital to help sick orphans. The playrights cost the drama department roughly $3,000 to use and $600 per performance based on an estimated attendance. Over half the money from these fees goes to help children at the orphanage. In addition to the scripts, the high flying adventure also dipped into the budget, taking another $5,000+ for use of the flying system. I would do it again in a heartbeat, Wilder said excitedly. The drama department has been saving money since she began four years ago to be able to present such an amazing musical. When she started, the drama budget was negative and so she had her work cut out for her. But she saved enough to cover the expenses and bring this excitement to the student performers, and the audiences who enjoyed it. Wilder was thrilled, saying it was the best attended play since she has been there. For example on Monday night, every seat was occupied, as well as a row in the back of folding chairs, and people still lined the outside of the auditorium standing or sitting on the floor to watch the show. The drama department will soon cast a small production of Romeo and Juliet set in the Civil War. In the spring they will present Vikings and Valkyries. It’s ridiculously funny, Wilder described. I don’t think I’m ready to grow up, Cook said at the end of the last performance. Thank you MHS drama department for giving us all a moment in time where we didn’t have to grow up and we could believe in magic.
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