The Crusader Newspaper Group

Broadway Touring Company’s version of PETER PAN never landed

Before I begin the review of Broadway Touring Company’s PETER PAN at Broadway in Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre, I would like to tell you about the wonderful conversation I had with Hawa Kamara, who stars in the role of Wendy.

This is Hawa’s first professional Broadway show, straight out of graduating from college. She went to Emerson College for BFA, graduated last May, a week after graduation she booked the role.

As a woman of color playing the role of Wendy, I asked her if she expected to get this role.

“Oh, wow. I honestly couldn’t really believe it. When I first auditioned, I was auditioning for the ensemble. I had no intention of booking this role, not in any intention, but more, this was really, really shocking.

“This kind of musical, at least the renditions that I’ve seen of it before, has never been something that I was strong in. It’s a golden age-ish kind of musical, there aren’t a lot of women in it.

“And obviously Wendy has always been portrayed by a young white girl, and Tiger Lily is supposed to be indigenous, so I was like, “I don’t really know where I would fit in.”

“Because at this point, I was going to be a lost boy.

“When I got into the audition room, that’s when they called me back and said, ‘Hey, come back in two hours and then read for Wendy.’ And so, I’m like, “Okay, If you really want to see it.”

“I went back, I did it, I sang a song and within that week they called me and were like, ‘Hey, we want you to have that role.’ Lonnie Price called me personally, and I was very excited. Speechless really, because once again I had no expectations at all.”

When I went to see the play, Hawa was ill and didn’t perform that evening; however, the young lady who played Wendy was good. In fact, all the actors were good, also the technical aspects, the flying around the stage, the set, were all good.

So, what was wrong was that the show was all over the place.

Nolan Almeida was the strongest character as Peter. He played Peter as the young boy he was supposed to be. Wendy’s character was a little too adult for me, instead of being the protector of her brothers and the lost boys, she was busy flirting with Peter, wanting hugs and kisses. Yes, that sounds old; however, the innocence of their attraction was lost.

Cody Garcia’s Captain Hook was funny and lively. The Croc was quite amusing.

With all of this, something was missing. There wasn’t any whimsy. The children around me were bored, (they actually asked if they could leave because they were bored). At intermission more than several families left the theatre. To be honest, I was tempted to leave.
It is always great to update a classic, but there is a thin line between enhancing and taking it over the edge. For me, this version of PETER

PAN needs some things toned down and more fantasy put in.

I give PETER PAN 2 out of 5 winks of the EYE.

Until next time, keep your EYE to the sky!

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