By Zach Hagadone
The Panida Theater will transform into Neverland for two performances of Peter Pan on Friday, Aug. 5 and Saturday, Aug. 6, featuring the talents of nearly two dozen young thespians between the ages of 8 and 15.
With the play produced by Lake Pend Oreille Repertory Theatre and under the direction of Keely Gray, the students will take the stage as the culmination of a weeks-long summer camp, which also officially launches the educational program for the theater company.
Gray and Courtney Roberts — the latter who serves as stage manager for Peter Pan — were co-teachers of the inaugural camp, with Roberts also serving as education director for LPO Rep and the main instructor for future classes, which will begin again in the fall.
“She is an absolutely incredible find for LPO Rep and we are so lucky to have someone of her skill and ability,” Gray said.
The skills and abilities of the student actors will be on display as well, in the roles made iconic in the novel by author J.M. Barrie and adapted for the stage by Craig Sodaro. All the classic characters are there: the Darling children Wendy, Michael and John, played by Cadence Hagen, Dexter Simmons and Josh Harman, respectively; Nana played by Halynn Harman; Tiger Lily played by Elena Orton; Rainier Pappas as Smee; and Caleb Christenson as both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook.
Joining them are Angel Rogers as Mrs. Darling, Sydney Carlson as Liza, Sarah Plaisance as Tootles, Sierra Meyers as Curley, Desmond Cross as Pots, Kyler Wood as Slightly, Wilhelm Anderson as Starkey, Jack Portell as Skylight, Sydney Carlson as Noodles, Ruby Moremen as Great Big Little Panther, Ailia Orton as Chattering Chipmunk, Laikyn Cunningham as Two Moons and Ruhl Upton as Raging Waters.
The title role of Peter Pan will be played by Erica Galletti.
Design concepts for the stage came from the students, with set and prop building by Elka Heuser. Especially exciting is fight choreography by Cory Repass, who worked with actors on the epic sword battle between Peter and Captain Hook.
“The kids are having a great experience thus far,” Gray said.
The Aug. 5 performance will be at 5 p.m. and the Aug. 6 performance at 2 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before the show and tickets cost $10 both in advance and at the door, with proceeds supporting the Panida Theater.
The Pend Oreille Arts Council sponsored the camp and offered scholarships, with the performance also made possible with support from the Panida, which helped with set and prop pieces.
“We are so grateful for their collaboration and look forward to partnering with them for our fall classes as well,” Gray said, adding later, “We are forming this awesome trifecta of nonprofit collaboration!”
Peter Pan • Presented by Lake Pend Oreille Repertory Theatre; Friday, Aug. 5; 5 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 6; 2 p.m.; $10. Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave., 208-263-9191, panida.org. Get more info on LPO Rep at lporep.com.
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