Peter Pan: Reimagined through the ages
The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up gets a constant makeover
by Katharine Mayk, Artistic Assistant
Peter and The Starcatcher is a prequel to the beloved classic Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. Since his creation by the pen of J.M. Barrie
in 1904, Peter has become one of the world’s most beloved characters.
Charming, callow, and clever, Peter Pan has become a household name.
Although Peter never ages, we watch as he is reincarnated and reimagined as we grow and mature. With every trip to Neverland with a new Peter, we are reminded that we can stay young at heart with “faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
So come with us “where dreams are born and time is never planned” as we take a look at Peter through the years.
Nina Boucicault originated the role of Peter in London in the West End 1904–1905. Boucicault was both a well-known actress of the time and the director Dion Boucicault’s sister.
Maude Adams, 1905–1907 originated Peter in the original Broadway play and is credited with having started the ‘Peter Pan collar’ fashion trend.
The first live action film of Peter Pan (1924) featured Betty Bronson in a silent film adaptation. The female tradition continued with well known Hollywood stars taking up Pan’s pipes including Eva Le Galliene (1928), Jean Arther (1950), and Veronica Lake (1951).
Disney’s animated feature Peter Pan in 1953 was the first time a male portrayed the role of Peter with Bobby Driscoll as the voice. The feature utilized the voice actors as physical models for their animated counterparts.
Mary Martin (1954) originated the title role in the musical Broadway production Peter Pan.
Many more women have donned the famous green tights over the years playing the role in revivals of the Broadway show including Sandy Duncan (1979), Mia Farrow (TV Movie, 1976), Kathy Rigby (1990), and most recently Allison Williams (TV Movie, 2014).
In Hook (1991), Robin Williams brought a childlike wonder to the imagined sequel of what would have been if Peter left Neverland and chose to grow up. Peter is forced to return to Neverland and face his past when his children are kidnapped by his old nemesis James Hook.
2003 marked the first live-action version of Peter Pan with a male lead, Jeremy Sumpter.
“Finding Neverland,” the 2004 movie starring Johnny Depp, delved into J.M. Barrie’s life, relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her sons, and his inspiration for writing Peter Pan. The movie was subsequently developed into a musical of the same name originating in Boston at the American Repertory Theater and moving to Broadway in 2015.
Peter and the Starcatcher plays May 20 — June 25, 2016 at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston. It chronicles the adventures of Molly, a girl charged to protect a cargo of stardust from falling into the wrong hands, and an orphan named Peter who eventually becomes The Boy Who Never Grew Up.
Peter and the Starcatcher is a swashbuckling grownup prequel to Peter Pan that will have you hooked from the moment you let your mind take wing. As the NY Times raved, “this show never stops flying!”
Get tickets now:https://tickets.lyricstage.com/
Compiled by Katharine Mayk. Katharine is an artistic assistant at the Lyric Stage Company and is pursuing her Masters in Theatre Education at Emerson College.