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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review: Centenary Stage Company is flying high with Lea Antolini–Lid in ‘Peter Pan-the Musical’

lea peter pan

It is 'fairy-dust' time at the Centenary Stage Company where they premiered this past weekend a full blown, major production of one of the most beloved family favorites of all time...Peter Pan. The holiday production with more than 70 actors, musicians and crew delights on all has a marvelous cast led by the Centenary Stage's multi-talented Lea Antolini–Lid as Peter Pan and Broadway veteran Osborn Focht as Captain Hook. It has a supporting cast including youngsters from Centenary's Young Performers Workshop who impressively sing and dance along with professional actors, Centenary Theatre students, and area performers. It has excellent, colorful costumes. It has elaborate, attractive sets. It has the wonderful music from the original Broadway production starring Mary Martin. 

This highly entertaining production directed by Michael Blevins, also a Broadway veteran, is not just for the young, but the young at heart who will find much to enjoy. Peter Pan is based on J.M. Barrie’s classic tale and features a score by Morris “Moose” Charlap and Jule Styne with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.   The songs include I've Gotta Crow, Never Never Land, I'm Flying, I Won't Grow Up and Tender Shepherd.

Director Blevins has assembled a cast as talented as any we have seen on the Sitnik stage. Osborn Focht is perfectly cast in the dual role of  Captain Hook and Mr. George Darling. His father Darling is properly charming, caring and amusing. However, he excels in the fun role of the villain Captain Hook.  

leaPPNow, here is where a barrage of superlatives are in order to describe the performance of  Lea Antolini–Lid (photo right). Her Peter Pan is extraordinary. She is a pure joy to watch (yes, worth the price of  admission!). Clearly she is having the time of her (stage) life in this role. Her dancing and singing abilities have possibly never been more perfectly showcased. She charms from the dramatic first arrival in the Darling nursery in search of her shadow....flying of course, to the touching reunion with Wendy, a mother herself in the final scene. 

The fine secondary leads are Nikki Miller as Wendy, Mitchell Michaliszyn as John and Chris Nuez as Michael (he may be the smallest cast member, but he's the equal of the other dancers)...the Darling children. Cynthia Livingstone nicely handles the warm, mother role (Mrs. Darling). Both Nikki Miller and Cynthia Livingstone have impressive voices. They, plus Mitchell Michaliszyn (John) and Chris Nuez (Michael) combine for the touching nursery song Tender Shepherd.  Nikki Miller's Distant Melody duet with Lea Antolini–Lid is a second act highlight. Another standout is lead dancer Megan McGill as Tiger Lily, leader of the Indians. Brandon Wiener also provides several fun moments as Hook's right-hand man, Smee. 

The remaining cast: Nana the dog- Victoria Pulido; Liza the Darling's maid-Lisa Kosak; Crocodile- Ernest Scarborough; Adult Wendy-Tyler Milazzo; Jane- Sydney Lewis ; Lost Boys; Teddy Walsh, Zack Clark,  Andrew Nussbaum, Tyler Donovan, Andrew Wire and Izac Donovan Cruz; Pirate crew; Tom Farber, James Nester, Andy Calderone, Ameer Copper, Chris Kolwicz, Cary Lawson, Dominick Garatino and Cody Riker.  Indian dancers; Lauren Santerelli, Jennine Hamblin, Raegan Davis, Jenna Black, Quinn O’Hara,  Suzanna Nussbaum, Elaine Belenguer,  Sarah Farber, and Christiane Darensbourg. 

Peter Pan Hook

Director Michael Blevins also excels as the choreographer. Peter Pan features a surprisingly large number of excellent dances with the highlight Ugg-a-Wugg with Peter Pan, Tiger Lily, the Lost Boys, Darling Children and the Indians in the second act. Jenna Black assists as the Dance Captain. The music is provided by a fine nine member orchestra led by David Maglione. The other members are: Gabe Valle, Aimee Nishimura, Connor Koch, Brian Dacey, Rich Dispenziere, Joe Christianson, Barbara Garrison and Andres Vahos. The orchestra is positioned on the audience floor in front of the stage (on the right). Since the cast are "miked" there is no apparent sound problem.

Other key credits include: Julia Sharp costumes, Paige Murray stage manager,  Jeff Chase technical director, Paul Gregorio production manager, Sarah Riffle lighting, Dani Pietrowski props; Kyle Parham fly captain; Stephen Davis fight choreography, and Melanie Miles wigs.  Carl Wallnau (CSC Artistic director) and Catherine Rust (CSC General manager) are co-producers.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio   November 30, 2014

The high-flying Peter Pan started on November 28th  and will run through December 14th at the Centenary Stage Company's very comfortable Sitnik theatre in the Lackland Performing Arts Center on the campus of Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey. The play runs about two hours with one intermission. Parking is free and ample.

Tickets prices for Peter Pan are $27.50 for adults on Matinees and Fridays with discounts for seniors, students and children.  Saturday performance prices are $29.50 with discounts for seniors, students and children under 12. Thursday evening tickets are $27.50 for all seats with a two-for-one Family Night discount when purchased at the door.  CSC’s production of Peter Pan is sponsored in part by The Holiday Inn of Budd Lake and the Fulton Bank of New Jersey.

CSC is also offering a special “Scout Troop Night” on Friday, December 5th and Friday December 12th at 8pm.  Scout Troop Night is a group sales discount of $15 per ticket only applicable to the troop members, its leader and co-leaders.  Regular ticket price applies to parents or siblings.  To be eligible for “Scout Troop Night”, scouts must attend with troop and appropriate scout attire must be worn, i.e. uniform shirt or vests (or sashes) with patches.  Reservations are required and the offer may not be combined with any other discount or promotions.

For a comprehensive performance schedule and to purchase tickets visit  online at  Tickets may also be purchased at the CSC Box Office in The Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown, or by calling 908-979-0900. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday 1-5 p.m., and 2 hours prior to performance times. CSC also operates a second Box Office during the season at 217 Main Street in Hackettstown open Monday through Friday 3-6 p.m.


Song List:

1. "Tender Shepherd"- Wendy, John, Michael, and Mrs. Darling

2. "I've Gotta Crow"- Peter Pan

3. "Never Never Land"-Peter Pan

4. "I'm Flying"- Peter Pan, Wendy, John, Michael

5. "Indian Sequence #1”-Tiger Lily & Indians

6. "Pirate Song"-Pirates

7.  "Hook's Tango"- Captain Hook and Pirates

8. “Indian Sequence #2”-Tiger Lily & Indians

9. "Wendy"- Peter Pan and Lost Boys

10. “I Won’t Grow Up”-Peter Pan and Lost Boys

11. "Hook's Tarantella"- Captain Hook and Pirates

12. "Oh, My Mysterious Lady"- Peter Pan and Captain Hook

13. "Ugg-a-Wugg"- Peter Pan, Tiger Lily, Lost Boys, Darling Children and Indians

14. "Distant Melody"-Peter Pan & Wendy

15. "Captain Hook's Waltz"- Captain Hook and Pirates

16. "Reprise: I Gotta Crow"- Peter Pan, Company

17. "Reprise: Tender Shepherd"- Mrs. Darling, Wendy, John and Michael

18. "We Will Grow Up "- The Darling Family, Lost Boys

19. "Finale: Never Never Land"- Peter Pan



                                                                                                                                                                                                          Photo: Capt. Hook & Pirates – (Center) Osborne Focht as Capt. Hook; (Left to Right)  Chris Kolwicz as Noodler, Brandon Weiner as Smee; Andy Calderone as Boatswain; James Nester as Starkey; Cary Lawson as Cecco.

Photos by Bob Eberle

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