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Posted: 03/20/13

Fly to Neverland with
Romeo's 'Peter Pan'

Observer Staff Writer

      I can fly, I can fly, I can fly - and sing, and fight!
       Students with the Romeo Theatre Company will swashbuckle and soar to bring the the musical classic "Peter Pan" to the stage this weekend.
       Performances are scheduled for March 21, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m. and March 24 at 2 p.m. in the David Olson Auditorium at Romeo High School.
       The adventure follows Peter Pan and the three Darling children as they take on Captain Hook and his band of pirates in the magical realm of Neverland.
       Kendra Walls, theater teacher and director, said the motivation for choosing the show stemmed from it being a well-known story that all can enjoy as well as being good for a bigger cast.
       "It's just a fast-paced, fun, entertaining, lively and colorful show," Walls said. "You do have your main characters, but there are so many other places where students can really shine."
       Senior Caitlyn Pichette plays the title character of Peter Pan, a hotheaded boy who refuses to grow up, swings a sword like a pro and can fly.
       "He's so active and always running around and fighting," she said. "My favorite part of it is probably all the sword fighting and flying, though it is a challenge, too."
       To take flight, Pichette and others are strapped into flight equipment provided by ZFX Flying Effects. Pichette said after adapting to singing in a harness, flying has been "a lot of fun."
       "The hardest part is probably keeping your head toward the audience because it's really hard to turn," she said.
       Joining her in the sky is sophomore Olivia Belfie, who takes the stage in her first major role with Romeo as Wendy Darling, the eldest of the Darling children. Belfie said she has enjoyed learning stage combat and taking flight, and believes audiences will enjoy watching it as well.
       "I saw a video of myself after and I was like, `I look like that?' because I thought I was flailing around, but it actually looked really cool and graceful," she said.
       Playing Pan's nemesis, the pirate Captain Hook, is senior Grant Hale. He said the role is fun because the character is basically an overgrown kid.
       "The animation aspect of it, playing these fun, animated characters is so cool," Hale said. "Hook is just so over-the-top, just so animated, you can do so much with the facial expressions and body movement."
       Aside from the main characters, the cast of 70 will sing, dance and fight as Lost Boys, Native Americans and pirates. Sophomore Jennifer Pries is one of the students responsible for choreographing the dances, and also plays Tiger Lily, the Native American princess.
       "It's really fun because you get to learn new styles of dance, and it's always fun to work with your schoolmates and meet new friends," Pries said. "It's so much fun to be here."
       She believes audiences will enjoy the "Ugg-A-Wugg" song and the flying effects in this production.
       Theater magic
       Stage fighting is nothing new to Romeo Theatre Company, but Walls said this is the first time coordinating big battles with weapons. To make sure it's done safely, Walls brought in Chris Barbeau of Ring of Steel, a professional of nearly 40 years who worked on fight scenes for Disney's "Hook."
       "My goal is to entertain but never make the audience ever worry that there is any fear of injury," Walls said.
       Along with new fighting techniques, students are utilizing new set techniques to bring Neverland to life. With the exception of pieces like staircases, Walls said the sets are made of cardboard since it's lighter, safer and a money saver.
       "We have a nursery set, we have a Lost Boy underground, we have the Neverland, we have a pirate ship," Walls said. "It's a dance behind the curtain for scene changes."
       Though the company missed seven rehearsals due to snow days, power outages and ice storms, Walls said the students and their parents have dedicated themselves to the show.
       "It's truly a nice group of kids, you can so tell they enjoy each other on and off the stage," she said.
       Pre-sale tickets are $10 each and tickets at the door are $12 each. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling (586) 281-1154.

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Retrieved 8/2/2015 at 6:26:05 PM.
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