Periomen Valley Middle School East students have been spending their afternoons at school – this week and next, until 9 p.m. every day – preparing for their “Peter Pan” production, running March 1 through 3, complete with flying actors.
“I always loved the Disney movie, but never considered it because of the flying,” said director, and PVMS East emotional support aide Kathy Gittelman. “We were able to foot the bill this year.”
More than 120 students are working on the production, which began auditions the week before Thanksgiving. There are 100 cast members, 25 of which have speaking roles, and 20 crew members.
Patch had a chance to sit down with some of the cast – Peter, played by seventh grader Ethan Rapp, Wendy, played by eight grader Emily O’Brien, Captain Hook, played by eight grader Nathan Gittelman, Tinker Bell, played by seventh grader Hannah Rowan, and dancer Rainey Blantern.
What are the students most excited about? You guessed it. Flying. Five actors will take flight on the PVMS East stage.
The actors are also excited to tell the story.
While guests won’t see the Disney version of the Peter Pan story, as the rights aren’t available, this version is still one that will resonate with children and adults.
“I saw this Peter Pan in school in fourth grade, so I went back and watched it again,” said Rapp.
In addition to the student actors, many adults are also devoting their time. According to Gittelman, parent volunteers are helping to build the set, which was designed by Wendy and Paul Benensky.
The show's stage manager is Kathy Venafra, costume designer is Karen Westgate, the set artist is Shannon Spencer and the choreographer is Kerri Kirsinger. Perk Valley High School students, alums of the PV East shows, also come back to help.
Gittelman said an important aspect of the show for her is to show the students what goes on (literally and figuratively) behind the scenes of the show, including community outreach.
“We do a lot of outreach,” Gittelman said. “It’s like working with the whole child, not just putting on a show.”
Tickets can be purchased by filling out the form attached to this article in the “PDF” section.
A percentage of proceeds from the show will go towards Shriner’s Hospital and St. Jude’s.