Thursday February 22nd 2018

“Finding Neverland”

CTR-0092P-Art-10.812x3-4C.inddHighly Recommended ***** Every little kid (and all those “kids at heart”) loves Peter Pan! I believe this to be true! If there are people who do not care for this amazing character created by  J.M. Barrie, I pity them! Over the years, we have been witness to the Disney cartoon and of course the magical musical of the same name, growing to adore the characters created; Peter, Wendy, John, Michael, Nana and Tinker Bell as well as the villain, Captain Hook. It seems that part of growing up is learning to love the boy who would not grow up. Years ago, a movie was made called “Finding Neverland” written by David Magee and the play “The Man Who Was Peter Pan” written by Allan Knee. These were the basis for the enchanting musical, “Finding Neverland” which follows the relationship between playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired “Peter Pan” ( also called “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”, one of the most beloved stories of all times), now on stage at The Cadillac Palace Theatre as part of the Broadway In Chicago series.

The story is one that tells us of the playwright, J.M. Barrie ( Kevin Kern is both personable and highly talented) who is having creative difficulties due to the life he has been leading. In his heart, he is a child yearning to stay as one, but due to his marriage, cannot. One day, at  Kensington Gardens, he meets a woman and her four boys. He playfully romps with the boys and makes close friends with the woman, Sylvia (Christine Dwyer is a knockout with a voice that is amazing), a widow, who he finds himself attracted to at once. Her boys, George, Michael, Jack(also known as John) and Peter are played by Jordan Cole, Finn Faulconer, Mitchell Wray and Eli Tokash (on different dates, they are also played by Ben Krieger and Tyler Patrick Hennessy). They are powerful and highly energetic young actors who appear to be having as much fun as we are.neverlandcast

The scenario is that Barrie is not happy with his present situation and finds himself feeling much more comfortable with Sylvia and the boys. His producer. Charles Frohman (who also becomes the true Captain Hook- deftly handled by Tom Hewitt)  needs a new play and with the aid and inspiration of the playful Davies clan(who become the Darlings), Barrie creates “Peter Pan”, with pirates and the crocodile and all. As the relationship between Barrie and Sylvia (the inspiration for Wendy) grows, we learn and see how many of the items that are part of the story of “Peter Pan” came to be. Tinker Bell, of course and Nana along with the direction, “Second Star on the right”  which is featured in a song in the second act.

neverlandThe book by James Graham with music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy is in no way a continuation of the music from “Peter Pan” and while it is not a score that will have you humming as you exit the theater, you will find yourself impressed by the glorious numbers in the show. The final number in the first act, “Stronger” with “Hook” in between a second verse after four parts of “Circus Of Your Mind” is mind-boggling, exciting and will send chills up your spine! It did mine! The music helps to propel the story and under the direction of Ryan Cantwell the eleven musicians sound like a full orchestra. This production truly shows the inspiration for a story that has been told for generations, and will continue to do so forever!

This is a Touring Production, so if course, they follow pretty much of the original direction (Diane Paulus) and choreography (Mia Michaels) making minor adjustments for the Palace stage. The set is the same exciting set as the Broadway production as are the costumes, props, lighting and sound. It is the performers who make this show one to talk about. A sterling cast of actors, some from the original show, others brought on board for the tour, but an ensemble that is perfect in the roles they take on. Joanna Glushak as the grandma to the boys, Christina Belinsky, Cameron Bond (who takes on Hook in the play within-a-play), Sarah Marie Charles, Adrianne Chu (Wendy) , Calvin L. Cooper, The incredible Dwelvan David, Josh Drake, Victoria Huston-Elem, Crystal Kellogg, Melissa Hunter McCann, Connor McRory, Thomas Miller, Noah Plomgren, Matthew Quinn, Corey Rives, Dee Tomasetta (Peter Pan), Lael Van Keuren and the hilarious Matt Wolp (he has one of the funniest lines relative to “believing in fairies”). This is a high energy ensemble that truly makes this show a work of art and an experience for everyone who believes in the idea of “Peter Pan”.

I would have to say that the biggest problem with this production (perhaps the only one) is that it will only be in Chicago, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre located at 151 West Randolph Street thru December 4th- YES, ONLY thru DECEMBER 4th with performances as follows:

neverland2Wednesday, 11 /23  7:30 p.m.


Fridays, 11/ 25  2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sundays  2 p.m.

Tuesday, 11/29  7:30 p.m.

Wednesday  7:30 p.m.

Thursday  7:30 p.m.

Friday 12/2  7:30 p.m.

Saturday  2  and 8 p.m.

Sunday, December 4th  2 p.m.neverland4

Tickets range from $27-$123 and are available at ALL Broadway In Chicago box office locations, by calling the Ticketline at 800-775-200 or at all Ticketmaster locations or online at (where you can also find some parking deals).

To see where this show will visit next, visit http://www,

To see what others are saying, visit http://www,, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Finding Neverland”


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