Williamsburg Players and StageLights flew high with 'Peter Pan'

Two Peter Pans took flight this month for area audiences to enjoy.

The Williamsburg Players and StageLights presented different productions of the perennial favorite. Both companies wrapped their seasons last weekend, to sell-out crowds.

Although the productions were disparate in sound and look, both had much going for them and I had fun attending. Last Thursday, I saw the final dress rehearsal of StageLights at the Williamsburg Library, and was delighted.

For obvious reasons, I don't generally review kids productions. That being said, this show was singular in its look, sound and production values. The entire cast, crew and creative team can take a well-deserved bow for the work that went into the show. And it paid off with a very lively, colorful production that was appealing to all ages.

The show was directed by Richard Parker with musical direction by his longtime colleague Judy Zwelling. They work well together, as evidenced by the end product, which in this case, was staged cleverly and sounded great. These two seem to have in inexhaustible amount of patience and ability to pull it all together. Kudos for their decades of work with area kids.

Zwelling anchored the music, which featured the score from the animated Disney classic. The cast, which was the largest StageLights group to date, sung it with verve and really solid vocals. I was impressed.

Arianna Heck pulled double-duty choreographing both Peter Pan productions. She did an admirable job with both, and in this instance, with Peter not "flying" came up with some nice movement to suggest flight. She is to be commended for her work. Visually the show took off, in large due to the work of costumer Jeri Sharrett, with assistance from her husband, Steve. The costumes were bright and imaginative.

The cast featured wonderful performances by Lucie Griffith as Peter Pan, Emily Crawford as Tinker Bell, Allison Mock as Wendy, Matthew Ekstrom as John, Ronnie Littman as Michael, Jack Cherry as Mr. Darling and Capt. Hook, Carley Calfee as Mrs. Darling and Tiger Lily, and Hunter Perry as Smee and Nana.

I would like to list the entire cast, the fairies-mermaids, pirates, Lost Boys and Indians but I can't. However, each and every one of them contributed to the cast with their smiles and energy. It was an ensemble effort and they can all take pride in their work.

What I found to be the best part of both productions was the amount of young people onstage. They represent the next generation of talent, and for me it is refreshing and inspiring. We are fortunate to have theater groups that allow these youngsters the chance to act, sing, dance and follow their dreams.