Peter Pan

Music by: Mark Charlap

Lyrics by: Carolyn Leigh

Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The story of Peter Pan has seen numerous incarnations over the years.  There was a play written by Sir James M. Barrie which was first performed in London in 1904,  Then there were the numerous revivals of the play which continued to take place until 1953 when a new animated version was released by Walt Disney.  From there, a Broadway musical adaptation was inevitable.  But when Peter Pan first opened on Broadway in 1954, it was to mixed reviews and only ran for 152 performances.  In fact, the only individual who seemed to profit from this musical was Mary Martin who portrayed Peter Pan on Broadway and later in televised versions of the musical.  Masterworks Broadway released the Original Cast Recording of Peter Pan in eco-friendly packaging on May 4, 2010.

            The musical begins in the nursery of Mr, and Mrs. Darling where the children, Wendy (Kathy Nolan), John (Robert Harrington) and Michael (Joseph Stafford) are preparing for sleep.  Enter Peter Pan and his fairy friend Tinkerbell.  Peter has a problem - his shadow has become attached thanks to an earlier visit to the nursery that ended in an attack by Nana the dog.  After all, he was an unknown intruder in Nanaís familyís home.  Wendy wakes up to Peter Panís crying, she sews his shadow back on. 

            Grateful for her help, Peter begins to describe his home, Neverland, where he lives with the forgotten children called Lost Boys.  Wendy persuades Peter to take her and her brothers to Neverland and soon they are adventuring in Peter Panís home, playing amongst Indians and fighting pirates.  However, the children soon realize they are homesick and long to return to their mother and father.  But before that can happen, one more adventure awaits them as Captain Hook (Cyril Ritchard) devises an ambush to capture all of Peter Panís friends.

            Mary Martinís performance as the young boy who never wants to grow up is touted as the best performance of this character to ever hit the stage.  Scandalous that a female was chosen to perform this male part and be considered the best ever in the role!  Cyril Ritchard is excellent as Hook who is both connivingly ruthless while planning his revenge against Pan and comedic in his numerous failures.  The children sound adorable.  The musical is best known for songs like Iíve Gotta Crow, Iím Flying and I Wonít Grow Up, but there are other fun performances, including the Pirate Song and Hookís Tango.

            All-in-all, the Original Cast Recording of Peter Pan is a great deal of fun to listen to.  Fans of Mary Martin or of the story of Peter Pan itself are going to love getting their hands on the original Broadway Cast Recording.  Fans of the cartoon may have some difficulty with certain nuances in the musical version, but none they canít handle.  No one should miss out on an opportunity to hear Mary Martin in action as Peter Pan in the original Broadway musical.


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