Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Christine Toy Johnson, Donald Corren, Troy Hussman, Cole Francum, Delphi Borich, Ana Marcu and more set for Syracuse Stage’s ‘Peter Pan’

Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Syracuse Stage’s production of Peter Pan, helmed by Paul Barnes (Irving Berlin’s White ChristmasThe Miracle Worker) and featuring choreography by Anthony Salatino, began previews on November 28th in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/Drama Complex, 820 East Genesee Street, and will open on Friday, December 4th at 8:00pm. Performances continue through January 3, 2016.

The musical follows Peter Pan and Wendy Darling as they fly to Neverland to explore new and fantastical worlds. With Peter’s fearless sense of adventure and Wendy’s strong will and nurturing spirit, the pair battle against pirates and crocodiles and find themselves up against the evil villain Captain Hook. Add the mischievous Tinkerbell and her fairy magic, and the show has what director Paul Barnes called a trigger for the imagination of our childhood dreams of flying.  With such songs as “I’m Flying”, “I Won’t Grow Up”, and “Never Never Land.” Peter Pan delivers a musical and adventurous treat for the holiday season.

To bring the dream of flying to life, Syracuse Stage is working with ZFX Flying Effects, a performer-flying-effects company based in Louisville, Kentucky. ZFX’s credits include major Broadway productions such as The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan, and Peter Pan.

Delphi Borich (Wendy Darling), Séamus Gailor (Michael Darling), Matthew Caraccioli (John Darling), and Troy Hussmann (Peter Pan) in PETER PAN rehearsals. Photo by Brenna Merritt.

Delphi Borich (Wendy Darling), Séamus Gailor (Michael Darling), Matthew Caraccioli (John Darling), and Troy Hussmann (Peter Pan) in PETER PAN rehearsals. Photo by Brenna Merritt.

To create a more relatable 21st century rendition Barnes said he will be introducing Tiger Lily as the leader of a “troupe” of female warriors, inspired by the popular mythical aspects of J.R.R Tolkien’s novels The Lord of the Rings.

Ana Marcu (Tiger Lily) and the cast of PETER PAN in rehearsal. Photo by Brenna Merritt.

Ana Marcu (Tiger Lily) and the cast of PETER PAN in rehearsal. Photo by Brenna Merritt.

The production also features a male Peter Pan, Department of Drama student Troy Hussmann who appeared as Link Larkin in last season’s Hairspray. Since Mary Martin originated the role on Broadway, a female actor has typically portrayed the role.

“When you cast a male as Peter, it brings more truthfulness to the relationship between Peter and Wendy,” said Barnes. “Troy not only has the requisite boyishness and Lord of the Flies-like wild child in him, but also can sing the role beautifully.”

In all 25 Department of Drama students make up the cast working with professional Equity actors. This show represents the 17th co-production offered by Syracuse Stage and the Syracuse University Department of Drama. The Stage/Drama co-productions started with a production of Peter Pan in the 2000-2001 season. These co-production have become so popular with audiences and critics alike that they have become an annual tradition at Syracuse Stage.

Delphi Borich (Wendy Darling), Christine Toy Johnson (Mrs. Darling), Séamus Gailor (Michael Darling) and Matthew Caraccioli (John Darling). Photo courtesy of Syracuse Stage

Delphi Borich (Wendy Darling), Christine Toy Johnson (Mrs. Darling), Séamus Gailor (Michael Darling) and Matthew Caraccioli (John Darling). Photo courtesy of Syracuse Stage

The Peter Pan cast includes Donald Corren (Captain Hook/Mr. Darling), Christine Toy Johnson (Mrs. Darling/Wendy grown up), Troy Hussman (Peter Pan), Cole Francum (Pirate Bill Jukes), Delphi Borich (Wendy Darling), Ana Marcu (Tiger Lily), Charity Van Tassel (Jane, Tiger Lily’s Troupe Raven Thistle), Kriag Swartz (Smee), Kim Roth (Liza), Ezekiel Edmonds (Pirate Starkey), Giovanni Da Silva (Pirate Cecco), Michael Roach (Pirate Noodler), Jon Paul Roby (Pirate Mullins), Matthew Caraccioli (John Darling), Séamus Gailor (Michael Darling), Meredith Bechtel (Tiger Lily’s Troupe Lavender Fox), Kelsey Broduer (Tiger Lily’s Troupe Scorpion Sundrop), Tristen Buettel (Tiger Lily’s Troupe Leo Thorn), Maria Bufalini (Tiger Lily’s Troupe Wolf Sage), Christy Soeder (Tiger Lily’s Troupe Stallion Rose), Justice Hayward (Lost Boy Nibs), Brady Richards (Lost Boy Curly), Connor Saccal (Lost Boy Twin #1), Brian Sandstrom (Lost Boy Slightly Soiled), Adam Segrave (Lost Boy Tootles), Richard Westfahl (Lost Boy Twin #2), Melissa Beaird (Nana, Crocodile), Stephen Gordon (Kangaroo), Lisa Graye (Lion), Kyle Patrick Scanlon (Ostrich).

The Peter Pan Understudies include Michael Roach (Peter Pan), Charity Van Tassel (Wendy Darling), Maria Bufalini (Tiger Lily),Lisa Graye (Jane), Tristan Buettel (Liza), Ryan Stryker Dunn (John Darling), Hunter Metnick (Michael Darling), Christy Soeder (Nana, Crocodile), Kyle Patrick Scanlon (Pirate Swing), Stephen Gordon (Lost Boy Swing).

The production team includes light design by Lonnie Alcaraz, costume design by Susan Branch Towne, scenic design by Linda Buchanan, and sound design by Jonathan R. Herter. The Stage Manager is Stuart Plymesser.

Tickets and information are available at www.syracusestage.org, by phone at 315-443-3275, and in person at the Syracuse Stage Box Office (Mon-Fri, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and two hours before curtain in the evening and on weekends). Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at 315-443-9844. Discounts are also available for seniors, students, and U.S military personnel and veterans. Sign interpretation, open captioning, and audio description services are available for select performances.

During the runs of Peter Pan and The Santaland Diaries (The Storch Theatre, December 9 – January 3), Syracuse Stage will be collecting non-perishable food items for those in need and coats for students and families at Franklin Elementary School in Syracuse.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at lia@liachang.com

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