Sunday March 6, 2016

Peter Pan at the Princeton Public Pool – Pirates, Pandemonium and Panto

- $20 General Admission; $15 ACP Members, students and seniors

The Arts Council of Princeton and Princeton Variety Theater present, Peter Pan at the Princeton Public Pool – Pirates, Pandemonium and Panto. Saturday, March 5 at 2pm and 7pm at the Stuart Little Theater, Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart at 1200 Stuart Road, Princeton.

Swashbuckling Peter Pan appears whenever a child says, “Let’s Pretend.” The Darling children love make believe, but their helicopter parent, the rules-obsessed Mrs. Darling, insists they keep things real. When a local tycoon threatens to convert the pool to AstroTurf, the whole town turns out to keep him at bay. On the way, Mrs. Darling learns the true meaning of magic when she turns the family pet into a giant crocodile.

The script, written by Zoe Brookes, Todd Reichart, Tom Regan and Per Kreipke, features local businesses, local stories, jokes for all ages and some big surprises. Zoe Brookes, Todd Reichart and Plainsboro music teacher Michael Jacobsen created original music for the show. The performance involves more than 50 community members both front and back stage, ages 8 to 75, including singers, dancers, acrobats and musicians. Peter Pan at the Princeton Public Pool will include many parents performing with their children.

Now in its seventh season, the Princeton Variety Theater enjoyed successes at the Arts Council of Princeton’s Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, including Shockheaded Peter, Stone Soup, On Air and (un)connected, the team branched out and introduced Princeton to the art of Panto. ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ staged in February 2014, was a sell-out success, followed by ‘Cinderella, the UGGly Version’ in 2015.

Panto, or pantomime, is not the same as mime. Panto is crowd-pleasing, family-oriented theater, typically based on a well-known story, and specially crafted for the town where it’s performed. There is a great deal of audience participation, singing and dancing, and a very simple script. Often, men play women and vice versa.

Director Todd Reichart has plenty of film, theater and TV credits to his name, but this local form of original theater has a special place in his heart. “We bring people together in an honest attempt to create something wonderful from what everyone can offer. Expect cute kids, virtuosity and belly laughs,” he says.

For funding, this production relies in part on local sponsors featured in the show. This year’s sponsors are JaZams, Hulit’s Shoes, Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics, Smith’s Ace Hardware and Labyrinth Books.

Tickets are available at the door.

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