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Travel to ‘Neverland’ with Greasepaint Players | TribLIVE.com
Theater & Arts

Travel to ‘Neverland’ with Greasepaint Players

Candy Williams
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Kacie Craig of Weirton, W.Va., as Peter Pan and Dan Shaffer of Jeannette as Captain Hook rehearsing for “Peter Pan and Wendy.”

All it takes is an enthusiastic cast and maybe a sprinkle of pixie dust for Greensburg Civic Theatre’s Greasepaint Players to take theatergoers to Neverland in its production of “Peter Pan and Wendy.”

The family play with three performances March 15 and 16 at Greensburg Garden and Civic Center features cast members as young as Lizzie Murphy, 7, of Monroeville playing Michael Darling – with Lizzie’s younger brother Alex, not quite 2 years old, making a cameo appearance.

“Lizzie is holding up wonderfully,” said Margie Griffin Hillebrecht of Latrobe, who directs the adapted stage version of Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie’s most famous work.

A great storyteller

Tika Gill, 10, of Trafford, a student at Trafford Elementary School, plays Wendy and said of her character: “Wendy is a very elegant young lady who cares a lot about her little brothers. She likes Peter Pan but does not express her feelings towards him. She is a great storyteller.”

Gill became involved in acting last spring, when she joined a musical theater workshop at The Theatre Factory and performed in “The Jungle Book.” She also acted in two KidWorks’ shows, “Mostly Ghostly” and “Snow Queen and the Goblin,” at the Trafford theater.

“I love acting, and performing on a stage is my dream,” she said. “I feel that any person watching this show will enjoy it, especially my family and friends as they love Peter Pan.”

Hillebrecht admitted it was her own love for the classic story that drew her to directing GCT’s spring children’s play.

Childhood memories

“Peter Pan was my favorite show when I was little. I remember waiting for it each year and clapping so hard for Tinker Bell with my eyes crunched up wishing. I use to wait nights for Peter to come get me,” she said.

The director called Doug Rand’s adaptation of the “Peter Pan” story that GCT is performing “a fast paced, humorous romp with sword fights, treachery and more that is full of the childhood imagination.”

Adult roles include Grown-up Wendy played by Kassie Branham of Bobtown, the real-life mother of her onstage daughter, Jane (Rory Branham) and one of the Lost Boys in the show, and Dan Shaffer of Jeannette, as Mr. Darling and the notorious villain, Captain Hook.

Kacie Craig of Weirton, W.Va., portrays Peter Pan. She is a graduate of West Liberty State University, with a minor in theater along with her major in clinical laboratory science studies.

“I’ve loved Peter Pan and the magic of Neverland since childhood, and always thought I could bring energy to the role,” she said. “Of course one puts a little of oneself into every role, so I’m sure you’ll see a little ‘Kacie flavor’ in him. When I’m being childlike and goofy, I make faces and talk with silly voices, and so I slipped that into my character.”

Shaffer also is a fan of his character, Captain Hook, so when he was given the opportunity to play him, he said he had to take it. His version of his character will be a mix of past portrayals, including the 1991 movie version.

“To borrow a quote from ‘Hook,’ ‘he’s the sleaziest sleaze of the seven seas.’ I’m trying to play Hook in between the book and movie – not as dark as the book, not as nice as the movie,” he said.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Categories: AandE | Theater Arts
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