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Theater Spotlight: Appleton East takes flight with 'Peter Pan'

1:30 PM, Apr. 19, 2013  |  Comments
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What: Appleton East High School presents "Peter Pan the Musical"

When: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. April 28

Where: Auditorium at Appleton East High School, 2121 E. Emmers Drive, Appleton

Admission: $12 main floor seating and $10 balcony seating. Tickets are available in advance at the school's box office and online at www.aepeterpan.com. They're also available at the door one hour prior to each performance.

Contact: 920-832-5733

Box office hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays

Background: The musical, based on the children's story of Peter Pan by author J.M. Barrie, takes audiences on a journey to the magical world of Neverland. The young and mischievous boy Peter Pan visits the nursery of siblings Wendy, John and Michael at bedtime. He sprinkles them with magic dust and they fly with him to Neverland, where adventures ensue. They meet Peter Pan's friends, the Lost Boys. They also encounter Peter Pan's enemies - the villain Captain Hook, his sidekick Smee and their band of pirates.

What they're saying: Director Debra Weiher-Traas said special effects include a battle aboard the pirate ship and, of course, flying.

The company ZFX is working with the production to fly seven cast members 10 to 18 feet over the stage, Weiher-Traas said.

"It doesn't seem to matter how old you may be," she said. "The excitement of seeing people fly 18 feet above the stage floor with special choreographed air routines keeps everyone on the edge of their seat."

Senior Kathryn Sauter, 18, who plays Wendy, said the production also holds unexpected highlights in store for audiences.

"There are surprises and excitement around every corner sure to keep the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the entire performance," she said.

The musical has wide-ranging appeal, Weiher-Traas said.

"As adults, we all wish at one time or another that we could return to our youth and live out the fantastic adventures of Peter Pan ...," she said. "Children, I believe, are attracted to the pure celebration of childhood innocence, and real live adventures."

Take-home message: The musical explores the value of childhood innocence, the conflict between that innocence and adult responsibilities, and the desire for adventure that competes with the longing for stability, home and family, Weiher-Traas said.

"We hope (audiences) will learn that adventures await us every day and around every corner, and to not forget to enjoy those adventures with the zeal of a child sprinkled with fairy dust and launched, flying through the sky on their way to Neverland," she said.

-Compiled by Kara Patterson, Post-Crescent Media: 920-993-1000, ext. 215, or kpatterson@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @ArtsMinded

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