Grab your pixie dust and get ready to take a trip to Neverland.
Windermere Preparatory School will be showcasing “Peter Pan” from Nov. 8 to 11 at the school’s new Cypress Center for the Arts. The production will be the school’s first all-school musical performed at the Cypress Center.
“I think all of us are truly excited about this inaugural event here at the Cypress Center,” said Jason King, Windermere Prep’s director of fine arts. “To be able to do something here on our own campus — in our own home — is going to be truly special.”
Rosemarie Redman is chair of the Theatre Arts Department and the director for the school’s production of “Peter Pan.” She said that all of the school’s fine-arts disciplines have been involved with the musical.
“It is an all-department production,” she said. “We have students playing in the orchestra (who are) from band. We have students who aren’t necessarily on-stage performers, but they’re our backstage crew. The art department is getting involved in painting the scenery. For this first production, we wanted to encompass all of our (fine arts) disciplines. Our dancers are in the show. Two of our dance teachers are our choreographers, so it has become an all-fine-arts moment, as well.”
King said they wanted to make the first performance at the school’s Cypress Center something special. And because of some of the features that the Cypress Center offers, they decided to showcase “Peter Pan.”
“We have a space that allows our students to fly,” King said. “We’re going to be able have — for the first time ever — a full orchestra. … Because of what this building is able to do and support for us, that’s allowing us to think really, really big and dream really big and figure out action plans to make those ideas come to life.”
Although The Cypress Center has opened up some new possibilities for the school’s fine-arts department, at the end of the day, it’s the students who make those possibilities come to life, Redman said.
“The quality of talent and students that we are so blessed to work with … (are) talented enough to handle a true theatrical space,” Redman said. “So to have this (Cypress Center), they are all rising to the occasion. There’s 73 students in the production, and I can honestly say there isn’t one weak link. They are all putting in 150%.”
One of those hard-working students is junior Alex Sheffield, who will be playing the role of Peter Pan. A longtime fan of the book and movies, she chose to portray the role of Peter Pan to challenge herself.
“I kind of had to get out of my head a little bit because I’m so used to playing people my age and a female, so playing (the role) of a 10-year-old boy, you have to completely separate from yourself,” Sheffield said. “I love all the characters, but I’m very happy that I’m playing Peter because I’ve never played someone like him before. He’s very freeing. He’s difficult, acting-wise, and I’ve always wanted to challenge myself.
“I’m a dancer as well, so I like the physicality of the role and I like the challenge of it,” she said. “He moves around a lot (and) the songs are quite hard to sing, so it’s going to be interesting to see what it’s like while suspended in the air.”
Eighth-grader Michael Crocetti Jr. is another one of the hard-working students cast in the production and will be playing the role of Mr. Smee. He said he’s watched multiple versions of “Peter Pan” and Mr. Smee was always his favorite character. When he heard the school chose “Peter Pan” for this year’s all-school musical, he knew he had to jump on the opportunity to play his favorite character.
“Mr. Smee (was) always my favorite character, no matter what,” Crocetti said. When I heard they were doing (Peter Pan), I said, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve always wanted to act as someone as ridiculous as he is.’ … He’s just such a fun character to play. I feel like he kind of brings the pirates together. He’s the comic relief in that group. He and Hook’s relationship is such a fun thing to explore.”