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December 8, 1997


5th Ave's 'Peter Pan' is for the child in us all

  by Deborah Stone
   The new national tour of "Peter Pan" has come to the 5th Ave. Theatre, just in time for the holidays. This beloved musical, based on James M. Barrie's classic tale, stars former Oympic champion gymnast-turned-actress Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan. Rigby previously starred in the role on Broadway where she was nominated for a Tony Award. She then toured with the show in 1990/91.
   Rigby makes a wonderful Pan with her throaty, cackling laughter and elfin-like appearance. She's an urchin who embodies the spirit of childhood and gleefully seeks mischief and adventure. When she flies, she truly soars through the air with reckless abandonment, causing gasps of awe and wonder. Audiences of all ages will delight in the magic of this show as they fly with Wendy (Elisa Sagardia), John (Michael La Volpe) and Michael (Paul Tiesler) Darling to Neverland where they encounter pirates, lost boys, Indians, mermaids, a ticking corocodile and a fairy with a mind of her own. The ruthless and cruel Captain Hook is played with a combination of juicy menace and humor by Paul Schoeffler, and Michael Nostrand, as Smee, is his bumbling and fawning first mate.
   The production stays true to Barrie's timeless tale and is not shy in its presentation of the darker themes of abandonment and lost innocence. A tight and together ensemble of talented actors who can sing, dance and act with high energy, combined with John Iacovelli's terrific sets and a musical score of memorable classics, make for one enchanting evening which will renew one's belief in the "happily ever after." "Peter Pan" runs through December 21st. For ticket information call 292-ARTS.