The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Fleetwood Community Theatre's ‘Peter Pan' took audiences on a magical adventure


By Cheryl Thornburg, cthornburg@21st-centurymedia.com

Monday, July 28, 2014

Young area actors got to soar to new heights in Fleetwood Community Theatre’s summer production of “Peter Pan,” much to the delight of the audience at Fleetwood Area High School last weekend.

Featuring the music from the original version of the Broadway musical starring Mary Martin more than 50 years ago, FCT’s show brought back memories to older members of the audience and captured the imagination of the younger ones as Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t Agrow up, takes young Wendy, John and Michael Darling on a magical adventure in Neverland that involves flying, sword-fighting, and dealing with Indians and pirates.

Young Bence Veres seems to have been born to play Peter. With his strong, clear voice, confidence and spunky attitude, he embodies this iconic character. The 12-year-old homeschooler from Muhlenberg easily handled the vocal and acting demands of the role. From the memorable ballad “Never, Neverland” to the feisty “I’ve Gotta Crow” and “I Won’t Grow Up,” he never misses a note. He even dealt with some technical issues with his mic Saturday afternoon like a pro.

Cassidy Vees is poised and likeable as Wendy, the oldest of the Darling children who fly to Neverland with Peter. She gets to show of her sweet soprano in the lullaby, “Tender Shepherd” along with her mother, played by Darice Hoffman and her brothers, John, played by Alex Vogelgesang, and Michael, played by Julian Polanco.

For those who have seen any of the previous versions of the show, Alex Vogelgesang is the perfect John, the protective older brother wielding his umbrella to fend off pirates and Julian Polanco is delightful as Michael, the youngest of the siblings.

To balance out all the sweetness, is the evil Captain Hook, played to the hilt by Benjamin Ruth. Hook is the quintessential bad guy, and Ruth is very good at being bad. He also is a fine comedic actor, whether trying to outwit Peter Pan or escape from the hungry crocodile, played by Brian Miller.

Miller ditches his human form in this show and plays not only the crocodile, but also Nana, the Darlings’ dog/nursemaid.

Also playing featured roles were Todd Carpien as Mr. Darling; Lorna Graham , a freshman at Twin Valley High School, as Tiger Lily, the leader of the Indians; Ashley Frankhouser as Smee, Hook’s right-hand man;

Missi Kopicz as grown-up Wendy and Amara Midouhas as her daughter, Jane.

“Peter Pan” calls for a large cast, giving plenty of area actors of all ages to strut their stuff on stage.

Playing the Lost Boys were Xander Cary, Hayden Crist, Emily Jones, Griffin Jones, Hunter-Willow Jones, Griffin Maley, Drew Maxwell, AaronPoper, Miles Schroeder, and Aiden Schlegel.

Tiger Lily’s tribe included Maya Evans, Anna Heitmann, Sara Moyer, Lauren Boyer, Gillian Crist, Laura Jones, Hannah Kolasa, Jenna Masenheimer, Erin Maynard, Rachel Mills, Amara Midouhas, Hanna Monyer, Peyton Polanco and Sarah Vogelgesang.

Captain Hook’s pirates were played by Bob Barskey, George Benjamin, Susan Bowman, Todd Carpien, Michael Catanzaro, Darice Hoffman, Laura Jones and Tammy Malitzki.

In addition, several delightful critters pranced and pattered about the stage, adding to the fantasy quality of Neveraland. They were Sienna Crowley as the lion, Tiana Tracy as the ostrich, Taryn Seidel as the kangaroo, Maisy Kellum as the bunny and Rileigh Jones as the skunk.

The show was directed by Dan Petrovich with Ken Dreisdadt, with musical direction by Jarrod Miller, choreography by Megan Cusano and set design by Tara Sands. The entire production was a family affair from parents helping the kids to “fly” to handling the many behind-the-scenes chores that go into staging a production of this magnitude.

A full orchestra supported the actors and also provided the voice of the elusive and ethereal Tinkerbell as she fluttered about the stage thanks to clever lighting gimics.

Unfortunately the show only ran July 24-26, but FCT always puts on a major summer musical, so mark your calendars for this time next year. Whatever the show, it will be a family friendly production that will be a great way to introduce children to live theater and entertain theater lovers of all ages.

Fleetwood Community Theatre is a not-for-profit 501c(3) volunteer organization of theatre enthusiasts. For more information about FCT, call 610-944-3610 or check out FCT on Facebook or visit www.fleetwoodcommunitytheatre.com