The Times West Virginian

April 24, 2014

‘Peter Pan Jr.’ to be presented

Saturday and Sunday at Metropolitan Theatre

By Chelsi Baker
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Morgantown Theatre Company will present Disney’s “Peter Pan Jr.” this weekend.

Performances will be at the Metropolitan Theatre on High Street in Morgantown Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Sunday at 3 p.m.

The show is a modern version of the classic animated Disney movie about a boy who refuses to grow up, and it was recently released through Music Theater International.

“It was exciting that this version had come out,” said director Hillary Phillips. “As a child, I played Wendy in the J.M. Berrie play, and also I directed that a while ago.”

Costumes are based on characters in the movie, and the songs are the same. Audience members can expect to see all their favorite characters — some of whom will take flight. Well, they won’t actually be flying, but instead gliding around the set on Heelys — shoes with built-in wheels.

“I think our way is quite cute,” said Phillips. “The kids are enjoying it.”

The cast is currently in dress rehearsals, and members have been working on the production for around six weeks.

“We’ve been on stage and putting costumes on and singing and rehearsing a lot,” said 9-year-old Payton Ogden, who plays one of the lost boys. This is Ogden’s first MTC production, but she plans to participate again in the next one, she said. She is most excited to see her friends in the audience and just to be on stage, having fun and singing.

There are 45 children involved in “Peter Pan,” including the stage crew.

MTC exposes kids to the arts and allows them to show their creative side, Phillips said.

“We provide theater to children of all ages and give them an opportunity to be involved in something that many of the schools don’t provide.”

She founded the company 15 years ago and directs all productions, with the help of a music director.

“It’s a really, really good place,” said “Peter Pan” cast member Joseph Phillippi, 15, “and I would encourage anyone who wants to get into acting to go to MTC.”

Just recently, MTC parent Yvonne Hammond’s son said he needed theater because it brings him joy, she said. His performances bring her joy, as well.

“I love seeing him on stage. I cry every time,” Hammond said. “It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen him.”

Tickets for “Peter Pan” are $10 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under, and proceeds go back to MTC to cover production costs. They are currently on sale at Pinocchio’s Books and Toys and Fawley Music in Morgantown, or online at www.morgantowntheatercompany.org.

Fans can meet their favorite characters during a Neverland Adventure Friday at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., during which they can have their picture taken with cast members, get a backstage tour and make their own fairy wand or pirate sword.

Tickets for the Neverland Adventure are $25 and include one free child’s ticket to the performance. Interested parties are encouraged to call 304-291-6826 or email info@morgantowntheatercompany.org to reserve a spot.

Email Chelsi Baker at cbaker@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.