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Jeremy Sumpter was the first male actor to play the traditional character of Peter Pan in a film version. Via

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 Pan in London’d West End.

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 plays Peter Pan in the original Broadway play.

Maude Adams, 1905–1907 originated Peter in the original Broadway play and is credited with having started the ‘Peter Pan collar’ fashion trend.

Betty Bronson plays Peter Pan in the first live action film version of the story.

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).

Bobby Driscoll voiced Peter Pan in Disney’s animated feature.

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 plays Peter Pan in a television special of the Broadway musical.

Mary Martin (1954) originated the title role in the musical Broadway production Peter Pan.

Allison Williams as Peter Pan in the 2014 live television version of the musical.

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).

Robin Williams plays a grown-up version of Peter Pan.

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.

Jeremy Sumpter was the first male actor to play Peter Pan in a live-action film.

2003 marked the first live-action version of Peter Pan with a male lead, Jeremy Sumpter.

Johnny Depp starred as J.M. Barrie in a film version of the author’s life.

“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:

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.

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