A Magical Peter Pan at SPHS

Theatre Review

Photo Credit: JamesJontzPhotography.com: Lorie Meza as Peter Pan flies off to Never Land.

South Pasadena High School put on a spectacular production of Peter Pan this past weekend that had the capacity crowds cheering. From the moment  Peter Pan burst through that London window on a flourish of pixie dust, the audience knew they were in for adventure. Soon to retire director, Daniel Enright, beautifully directed the cast in what was an emotional final bow. South Pasadena families were out in force and the littlest audience members could be heard squealing with delight.

Lorie Meza gave a tour de force performance as Peter Pan that was perfection. Her joy literally burst into the audience as she danced, sang and flew across the stage, hitting just the right notes in both the exuberant and more poignant moments. She had terrific chemistry with the lovely Alana Carmona who played Wendy with verve and tenderness. Charlie Primuth was a defiant yet caring brother as John and Andres Oyaga was darling and did a brilliant job playing little footie pajama-wearing Michael.

Photo Credit: JamesJontzPhotography.com: Andres Oyaga as Michael, Alana Carmona as Wendy, Charlie Primuth as John, look on as Lorie Meza as Peter Pan demonstrates how to fly

Lindsey Calva was quite touching as Mrs. Darling and Jula Rosenbluh was hysterical as the maid Liza, who inadvertently gets carried away to Never Land on the childrens’ pixie dust and just continues to go on dusting Peter’s hideout, the forest and the pirate ship. Sofia Sotomayor makes a brief but very sweet appearance as Wendy’s daughter Jane.

The Lost Boys were earnest and played with gusto by Morgan BeVard, Teddy Baker, Grace Chavez, Amelia Keeney, Zana Maslesa, Jeanine Talamante and Julissa Talamante. The “Indian Dance” performed by Mia Dawson, Heewon Kim, Mia Jung, Micah Linog, Jiji Paixao, Elaine Wang, Ke Arri Hardiamon, Talia Johnson, Zain Abu Karash, Hazel Many and Kaitlyn Tam was electrifying and nearly stopped the show.  The Indians were led by Cole Fox whose strong voice made for a powerful and beautiful Tiger Lily. All of the fantastic choreography was done by Courtney Cheyne.

Getting huge laughs and almost stealing the show was the crowd favorite crocodile played by Rebecca Daley. Trusted nursemaid Nana the dog was played by Miles Mendoza who doubled as the pirate Cecco. The pirates, also played by Katie Chabot, Jackson Monical, Rose McCollough and Wressey Baugham were as funny as they were dastardly. Ruben Nava-Landeros was deliciously devilish as the ultimate villain, Captain Hook, expertly tackling the character’s hostility and cowardice with relish. Nava had the perfect partner in crime in Charlotte Emerson’s crackerjack interpretation of the loveable, loyal sidekick Smee.

Photo Credit: JamesJontzPhotography.com: A triumphant Peter Pan flanked by the Lost Boys and Indians.

The all student orchestra, with professional Dean McCoy on drums, did a splendid job and was conducted by Lia Donovan, who also musically directed the actors. Hats off to Nick Hoffa for producing the show and all the volunteer parents who helped steady the ship.

The “Pixie Dust Posse” is to be commended for safely and beautifully flying the actors, along with the entire James Jontz directed crew, all students, who ran the show including calling all the cues. It was an impressive feat indeed and the exquisitely lit sets were whimsical from the pirate ship to the lushness of Never Land to the London nursery and the starry night; all created a sense of wonder.

The audience was truly wowed and carried away by the flying scenes and when Peter asked us all to help revive a dying Tinkerbell, children stood on their seats clapping and yelling “I believe in fairies!”. By the time Peter comes back to the Darling nursery to discover a grown up Wendy, Meza had the audience in the palm of her hand as she bid adieu to Wendy and flew away to Never Land with young Jane. I suspect they took with them a piece of every heart in the room.

Photo Credit: JamesJontzPhotography.com: Ruben Nava-Landeros as Captain Hook sings of his evil plan along with his crew of dreaded pirates.
VIAAlisa Hayashida
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Alisa Hayashida has been covering arts, culture, & events in the greater Pasadena Metro areas and Los Angeles Metro areas for the past six years. She is a valuable arts advocate in South Pasadena, with an extensive background in theater arts. Since graduating from UC Irvine, her work has taken her from Los Angeles to India, London, Paris and throughout Europe. She lives in South Pasadena with her husband and son and has been a devout South Pasadenan for the past 25 years.

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