Finding Neverland a Magical Journey
The story of how Peter Pan came to be might feel like a lost boy in the shadow of all the other shows getting Tony Award nominations, but Finding Neverland can crow because it easily flies to the top of the list of this season’s best musicals.
With music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and book by James Graham (based on the film written by David Magee and the play “The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee,) Finding Neverland stars “Glee”‘s Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer (TV’s “Frasier”) in the tale of J. M. Barrie and the real-life boy who inspired Peter Pan, who has been loved by generations.
Performances here, as well as singing voices, are excellent across the board. And the music (directed by Mary-Mitchell Campbell) is excellent, with several tunes standing out and annoyingly replaying themselves in your head for days and weeks (the way songs from a good musical should). My favorite: “When Your Feet Don’t Touch the Ground.” The original Broadway cast recording will release on June 23.Mia Michaels of TV’s “So You ThinkYou Can Dance” choreographs.The two-hour, 30-minute run time could use a trim – I’d love to see the ending tightened and a rather creepy Peter Pan (played by Melanie Moore) at beginning and end cut altogether. His/her flitting about was distracting. Otherwise, it’s an engrossing story (most of which I had not heard before) and vastly entertaining with the best darn fairy dust I have ever seen (illusions by Paul Kieve; air sculpting by Daniel Wurtzel and flying effects by ZFX., Inc.). There were a ton of smiling kids in the audience — a good thing for Broadway. And there is a nice message about people being able to change.
An American in Paris, Fun Home. Something Rotten! and The Visit shut Neverland out of a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical. It didn’t receive any nominations at all, which is a bit puzzling, unless you understand the politics behind most of the Tony decisions… The show did receive some Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nods, however.
Finding Neverland plays at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 West 46th St., NYC. Performances are Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm; Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 pm; Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 2 and 8 pm; Sunday at 3 pm. Tickets are $72 – $147: http://findingneverlandthemusical.com/
This show contains:
– Minor language