By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, entertainment critic)
It’s perhaps unfair to this adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan to compare it to the Disney version, which has had a lifetime to burrow its music into our collective minds. The songs here can’t compare to decades of nostalgia, but they’re fun and catchy nonetheless. The cast is superb. Em Grosland brings stunning energy to the role of Peter Pan, with a tomboy’s spunk and impressive mastery of the wirework.
Kari Yancy’s Wendy offers zest and real heartache at growing up, Ernie Pruneda makes a perfect Smee, while Aloysius Gigl pulls impressive double-duty as the uptight Mr. Darling and the dastardly Hook. Nicole Pavone dazzles in Tiger Lily’s demanding dance numbers. The script doesn’t allow the rest of the cast to leave much of an impression, nor does it reach the necessary gravitas underlying the story, but this is still a memorable night at the theater, with impressive production values and joyous energy.
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.