“Finding Neverland” Imagine, Believe and Fly

“Finding Neverland” flew into Segerstrom Center for the Arts awakening the inner child of everyone.

The delightful musical draws on inspiration of how one family’s dynamic became the catalyst behind playwright’s J. M. Barrie’s beloved story of Peter Pan. The Davies children and their mother’s transformational arc strikes healing chords of hope and possibility despite dismal or limiting circumstances.

Music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and book by James Graham shape a turn of the century London narrative that makes everyone a believer of possibility again.

Mia Michael’s choreography shined with her visceral movement and a storytelling heartbeat. I always love watching how she can use the simple inhale of breath with a head movement to bring power to the scene. Her ingenious use of a table or bench broaden a dancer’s vocabulary and is a playground for athleticism. Her use of rhythm was amazing with sticks being used as time clock hands and the dancers hitting the floor in unison. This show uniquely has the cast create expansive shapes that result in engaging positive and negative space. From each arm reach to flex foot I was entertained.

National tour cast of “Finding Neverland” (Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

The other positives for the show are numerous.

The children (Ben Krieger as Peter, Finn Faulconer as George, Mitchell West as Jack and Tyler Patrick Hennessy as Michael) were so endearing with pure vocals and genuine emotion. They carry a great portion of the show and gave amazing performances that equally matched the adult leads.

Billy Harrigan Tighe as J.M. Barrie and Christine Dwyer as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies showed the beauty of friendship and the importance of taking stock of reality while never losing the capability of wonder and play. It is Sylvia’s health state (you don’t discover until later) that grounds many moments making the search for optimism and glimmers of imagination to go on so relevant. J.M. Barrie’s discover of story within reality is heart-touching with the relationships with the children.

Billy Harrigan Tighe (left) as J.M. Barrie and Tom Hewitt as Captain Hook in the tour of “Finding Neverland.” (Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

Tom Hewitt as Charles Frohman/Captain James Hook serves as an excellent contrast coming in with daringly fun temptations of darkness whether in spirit of skepticism or physical alter-ego.

The special effects in the show are astounding leaving moments long to be cherished as happy thoughts.

Treat your family and yourself to some happy thoughts by taking them to see “Finding Neverland” on tour. Please check the website for dates.

Peter Pan Printable Quote for Sale at Shining Inspiration Etsy shop, “Finding Neverland” Fashion Inspiration

Tap Into a Sunny Outlook: 42nd Street

sunnyside

In the musical 42nd Street’s National Tour, Peggy Sawyer (Caitlin Ehlinger) maintained her bright positive attitude and willingness to go after her dream with tenacity and joy! When someone was a naysayer and acted in cynicism to discourage, Peggy was the refreshing light who was willing to love her job even in the chorus. She made a positive difference with what she was given, held onto her dream and her true friends even when she found stardom. Peggy won over those naysayers by being herself!

Be your own kind of Peggy at your workplace or life! Embrace who you are, go after your dreams, appreciate what you have and love those around you not for their status but for true friendship.

The company of 42nd Street featuring Caitlin Ehlinger as Peggy Sawyer
The company of 42nd Street featuring Caitlin Ehlinger as Peggy Sawyer

PEGGY: Miss Jones and Mr. Barry just invited everyone. Is something funny?

JULIAN MARSH: You are. Eyes shining like a kid at Christmas, dreaming of parties and opening nights, the tinsel and glitter of musical comedy. Just look at yourself – a speck of dust on this stage, indistinguishable from the forty other specks of dust I put there!

PEGGY: I know that, Mr. Marsh. But put all those specks together, you have something alive and beautiful that can reach out to a thousand people we’ve never seen before.

JULIAN MARSH: Broadways dreams, Sawyer! We’ve all have ‘em!

PEGGY: Well, I mean to hold on to mine, Mr. Marsh!

It was a joy to watch the production at Segerstrom Center for the Arts! Thank you to the cast and creative team for bringing shining positivity!  I love Caitlin Ehlinger’s performance as Peggy Sawyer with her energetic tapping and beaming smile that lights up the stage!  Check the website for more tour information!

42ndstreet

Friday Film: “Oklahoma!” Beautiful Mornings

One of my favorite musicals is the filmed 1998 version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” starring Hugh Jackman as Curly. The musical opens with Jackman richly signing the song “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’!”

“Oklahoma!” launched the collaboration between the composing and writing team Rodgers and Hammerstein and celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. beautifulmornings2

I like how the musical opens with a song about finding beautiful positivity in the morning and later explores the message of tolerance.

How do you start the day with beauty? Happy Friday!

The taped 1998 version starring Jackman can be enjoyed in high definition this Friday, November 15 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival. Please check local listings.  If you miss it on PBS then watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Upcoming Disney Projects

disney

Walt Disney Studios revealed many of their upcoming live action films at the 2013 D23 Expo yesterday.  Some of the magical standouts were “Into the Woods,” “Cinderella,” “Maleficent,” and “Saving Mr. Banks.

The “Into the Woods” cast seems delightful with Meryl Streep as the Witch, Johnny Depp as the Wolf, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine to name a few others.  Recent casting decisions include casting Sophia Grace Brownlee as Little Red Riding Hood and Daniel Huttlestone as Jack.  People might recognize Sophia Grace from her appearances on Ellen DeGeneres’s show and Daniel from playing Gavroche is the movie “Les Miserables.”  Rob Marshall is set to direct known for directing the movies “Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” etc.

This fairytale-themed musical is set to premier in theaters December 2014.

For more information about Disney’s upcoming projects click here.