Neverland Comes to Life in ‘Peter Pan’ Musical


Arnav Chandan

Captain Hook (sophomore Jay Shin) and his pirate gang dance to “Hook’s Tango.” The melody features an elegant, soft tune, contrasting the main lyrics of the song, which uncover Hook’s sinister personality and nefarious plans.

A mysterious, lone box sits in the center of the otherwise empty stage. This worn, hickory-shaded box, highlighted with contrasting hues of pearl white along its edges, draws little attention to itself. 

The theater soon descends into a state of tranquility as the sounds of twinkling bells resonate throughout the auditorium. The box opens, and from it emerges Tinker Bell (junior Maddie Miller), who begins to playfully frolic and jingle across the stage, setting the tone for the rest of this enchanting night. 

The visual and performing arts department held its annual musical on Jan. 26-28. in the theater. Adapted from J.M. Barrie’s novel, the musical follows Peter Pan (junior Rory Miller) and his adventures with the Darling family in Neverland, a fictional island where aging ceases to exist. 

“It was definitely really strange for me at first, because I’ve never played a guy before,” Miller said. “So, kind of developing the mannerisms of a child, but then also a boy at the same time was definitely difficult. But it was a really fun show to be in just because you got to use your imagination so much, and you got to go so far out of the box.”

On the last day of the show, the musical hit its goal of selling over 1,000 tickets, making it one of the most successful productions in school history, according to drama teacher and show director Samantha Sanford. 

Work on the musical began in September, with performers developing understandings of their roles, according to Sanford. In the days leading up to the opening show, the performers had the opportunity to act in front of a crowd for the first time through designated “preview nights” from Jan. 23-25.

“It’s been really fun to see them dive deeper into their characters and see our ensembles truly come to life this week,” Sanford said. “Seeing them click as a team but also have individual moments where they can stand out as an individual character within the ensemble, those moments take time to craft, and it takes repetition for them to figure out when is a good time to steal some focus or instead just go along with the action of the play.”

The end result was an elegant combination of diverse musical genres, ranging from the soothing melody of “Tender Shepherd” to the lively and vibrant “I’ve Gotta Crow.” Additionally, the musical featured scenes that shifted from intense action sequences to a playful one-sided romance between Wendy (senior Val Estrada) and Peter.

“I think since we’ve been running it in dress rehearsal for a long time, I got really comfortable with that feeling,” freshman and Lost Boy Jaskiran Singh said. “But performing live actually felt better because you’re presenting in front of an audience, and you got a lot of energy back from the audience, so it was more fun.”

Although this musical was the first for freshmen like Singh, “Peter Pan” marked the last for several seniors, many of whom spent multiple years in the theater program.

“Every graduating class leaves a legacy, but the biggest one that I’ve seen from this group is that they are not only incredibly talented artists, but they are the most caring and community-minded group that I’ve seen,” Sanford said. “They help make sure everyone truly feels like they belong, and they make sure that nobody feels like they’re only a small part of the show.”