“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

Cathy Rigby and Discovery Arts

“To live will be an awfully big adventure.” –J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

One of the things that inspires me the most is to see people using their abilities and experiences to make a positive difference in the world.  Cathy Rigby, Olympic legend, Tony award nominee, producer, director, and spokesperson for Discovery Arts is one such person.

Rigby took on the iconic role of Peter Pan who represents “youth, joy and liberty” back in 1974 and filmed a recording of the on stage performance that was released in 2000.  Whenever I was sick or needed a burst of inspiration I would watch the video of Rigby zooming across the stage making the flying look effortless.  Watch the recording here.

At the age of sixty the flying and acrobatic tricks are just as mesmerizing.  Rigby revived the production and I had the pleasure to see it live at her home theater, La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts, in June and at the Pantages in January.  Currently, the production continues on its tour with Rigby bringing merriment and pixie dust wherever she goes.

Picture

However, it is just not merriment or pixie dust that she brings but her giving heart.  After the end of her performance at the Pantages she graciously gave up her time to sign posters with proceeds going to Discovery Arts, take pictures and do a short meet and greet in costume.

Discovery Arts, a 501(c)(3)non-profit, focuses on giving hospital treated children a chance to experience joy and healing through the arts.  The organization understands the potential loss of hope, physical abilities and social interaction for a child battling a critical illness whether it is cancer or a blood disorder.  The appropriately named “Arts Adventures” illuminates the power of releasing creativity in a safe environment.  All programs partnered with hospitals are free of charge.

Whenever I am down, I love how the performing art is my imaginative escape where anything is possible.  Rigby and Discovery Arts have tapped into the magic that I know artists and anyone who loves stories can relate to.  For more information about Discovery Arts and how you can get involved please visit their website.

http://www.discoveryarts.org/

Thank you Cathy Rigby for being a shining inspiration!