"Finding Neverland": It’s Time to Play

April 16, 2015 - photo frame


Photo credit: Laurentic Wave Machine

In a print from 1906, J.M. Barrie plays fake with Michael Llewelyn Davies in a tree-covered field. Michael is Peter Pan and Barrie his Hook as they combat to a ground, smiling all a while. Light filters into a frame, and a star appears joyous in a serendipity.

Of course, Barrie wasn’t only Hook, yet Peter, too. He was a child who would never grow up, “an innocent,” as Nicholas Llewelyn Davies described him. Barrie didn’t give adult his unconstrained imagination for posh adulthood, and his essence friends were always children who climbed trees and ran prevalent in Kensington Gardens.

It is this Barrie that has found his approach to a Lunt-Fontanne Theatre — energized, trapped in a physique of a male with a mind of a kid. He’s complex, tiny by society’s expectations and acid for a artistic opening over a clichés of Victorian drama. He’s your standard protagonist/antagonist, endearing in his personal conflict, relatable in his self-psychological warfare. And in Finding Neverland, he’s brought to life by Matthew Morrison, who imbues Barrie with a radiant attract that creates him a many amiable man now on a Great White Way.

As one of Broadway’s many expected musicals of a 2014-2015 season, Finding Neverland doesn’t disappoint. It captures a laughter we hunt for in a nooks and crannies of a star while somehow transcending existence and entering a domain where fairies exist, children can fly, and nothing’s utterly as terrible as it seems. It’s a thoughtfulness of Barrie, whose account could be a tragedy if drawn a wrong way. An allegedly unconsummated matrimony with an unfaithful wife, a disgusting mom and mislaid brother, and even a deaths of those beloved to him — Barrie’s autobiography was anything yet a travel in a park. However, it was his distilled indicate of perspective that gave him and his plays a kind of whimsicality that warrants immortality.

In some respects, Finding Neverland is an paper to Barrie, a story with some contribution harmlessly distorted. It’s a story of how Barrie grew to venerate Sylvia, George, Jack, Michael, and Peter Llewelyn Davies, and how their family desirous his acclaimed Peter Pan. But really, Finding Neverland serves a same purpose that playwright George Bernard Shaw prescribed to Barrie’s masterpiece: “ostensibly a holiday celebration for children yet unequivocally a play for grown-up people.”


Matthew Morrison (center) and Kelsey Grammer (Captain Hook, front right) with a garb of Finding Neverland; Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

With overwhelming scenic pattern by Scott Pask, a assembly will embark on a pirate’s ship, hide into a private initial rehearsal, and join a tip cooking celebration that’s many some-more rebellious than your normal New York night on a town. But underneath a lively eye candy are Gary Barlow, Eliot Kennedy, and James Graham’s book and score, that rouse a prolongation from whimsical fun to digest-able depth. Based on a 2004 film, Finding Neverland‘s tract intertwines with constrained subtexts about a onslaught within. As a story unravels, Graham ceaselessly draws parallels between Barrie, a people in his life, and his characters. The tragedy culminates during a finish of Act we with “Stronger,” when Barrie is assimilated by his shade ego, Captain James Hook. This is one of dual tunes that a spectator competence alarm while he wanders out into Times Square; a other is “When Your Feet Don’t Touch a Ground,” that is a sweeter, some-more nauseating choice.

The second act is only as discriminating and touching as Barrie finds his wings. If all of this sounds corny, it’s not. It could be with any other cast, yet here, any actor brings out a shade within his role, permitting for multi-dimensionality in everyone.

Nevertheless, it’s a leads that mount out, and how could they not? Morrison, uninformed off of Glee‘s finale, belts with a wink in his eye that shows how many he’s missed a stage. His romance, Laura Michelle Kelly, sings “All That Matters” with passion that desperately creates we wish to knowledge a kind of adore Sylvia felt for Barrie. Though Kelsey Grammer’s voice is lacking, he creates adult for it with his panache and tender glamour as American writer Charles Frohman and Hook.


(L-R) Matthew Morrison, Jack (dog), and Aidan Gemme; Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

But many considerable is a immature Aidan Gemme, who gives a monumental opening as Sylvia’s son, Peter. When Gemme and Morrison share a duet, a impulse feels special, as yet it can’t be replicated by a soundtrack or recording. Instead, like anything of quality, it has to live on in memory.

When a screen closes, a stately innumerable of blues, purples, and pinks, it’s roughly a shame. You competence wish to linger, to wait a while and see something so sensuous again. But maybe it’s improved this way; you’ve had dual and a half hours of pristine bliss, and it’s been comical and pleasing and wondrous. You’ve visited Neverland! Now, it’s time to go home, yet don’t let a laugh fade. Remember: “Those who move fever to a lives of others can't keep it from themselves.”


The expel of Finding Neverland; Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

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