Central Theatre Presents: Wendy and Peter Pan

The annual fall drama has come and gone, leaving pixie dust in its wake.


For this year’s fall drama, the West Morris Central Theatre department put on 4 performances of Ella Hickson’s adaptation of Wendy and Peter Pan. In standard Central Theatre fashion the shows were immaculate, featuring expressive and emotional performances and a sense of whimsy running through each production. 

Firstly, the performances were superb. The actors truly embodied the parts that they were meant to play and it’s clear. Mike LeFevre balanced the bold daring side of Peter Pan with his childlike wonder towards Wendy.  Julia Esposito as Wendy Darling was fun-loving, carefree, and slightly prissy, but Julia also did a great job portraying Wendy’s grieving, and her denial over losing her brother. A fan-favorite portrayal was Ava Ferentinos as Tink, whose aggravated insults and fourth wall breaks kept the audience laughing and engaged.  Joe Seewald as Mr. Darling and Captain Hook was a funny and interesting villain, but also delivered a heartbreaking performance as a man terrified of losing his wife, while Brianna Lugo as Mrs. Darling and Tiger Lily was stoic and brave, a picture of the strong 1900’s feminist. 

Captain Hook (Joe Seewald) and Peter Pan (Mike LeFevre).

There is a lot to be said for the performances of side characters as well. The cast of pirates captured a great likeness of the aggressive, near-feral behaviors of a band of rowdy pirates. In addition, the Lost Boys, as well as Wendy’s brothers, truly brought their innocent and playful side to life. Plus, all lines had to be spoken in a British accent, which added an entire layer of challenge to their acting. Finally, Caroline Miller as the Crocodile brought a silent menace to the stage, creating dramatic tension with her grounded movements and the ticking clock that followed her around. 

The story of Peter Pan is one that requires a good deal of magic, actual pixie dust, to be told. Characters fly, turn into tiny fairies, and fight epic battles as the plot progresses, all of which are impossible to legitimately show on a stage. The stage crew and directors addressed this problem with ingenious solutions. They utilized clever lighting for some of these tricks, but a great number couldn’t be accomplished with technology alone. This was where Wendy and Peter Pan’s ensemble cast came in. The non-speaking actresses played Shadows, working in “slow motion” to create all of the special effects for the audience. Characters flying? Shadows are beneath them, pushing them around on wooden constructs. Tiger Lily shooting an arrow at pirates? Shadows are carrying the arrow to its target in slow motion. It was an interesting and intelligent way of creating special effects without completely destroying suspension of disbelief.

All of the Shadow choreography was created by Caroline Miller, and Olivia Budd played the head Shadow, responsible for many of the more technical dance sequences. 

There can be no doubt in anyone’s minds: this year’s fall drama was unlike any other, opening up some doors for the theatre program while closing others. This was the last performance to be directed by Mr. Hogan, who left Central shortly after the matinee. It was an incredibly sad time for the whole theatre community here, but the WMC theatre program will remember his impact for years to come, inspiring a whole generation of high-school thespians. These performances are  celebratory as well, though,  an unmasked show ringing in a new year of fully in-person schooling.