Gangs, Freaks & Dictators: Finding Neverland Stars Talk Unabashed Theatrical Magic
March 12th, 2015
by Josh Ferri
Broadway is about to be blown away by a magical new musical for the whole family, Finding Neverland. It traces the story of how playwright J.M. Barrie created Peter Pan and the real-life family who inspired him. The show is totally going to make you cry but more importantly, your imagination is going to wake up and everyone is going to feel like a kid again. Just check out this video preview.
So there we are at New 42nd Street Studios, mouth agape, flying high on pixie dust, really feeling the magic of Finding Neverland, Diane Paulus and Mia Michaels (So You Think You Can Dance), and we asked all involved to tell us about the most magical experience you’ve had as an audience member in the theatre.
Matthew Morrison (J.M. Barrie)
I was in college at NYU and I saw the original production of Side Show, and I don't know why that show is not still running today. There was just something about that show that moved me. I thought it was so creative—to write a musical about conjoined twins is so out of the box. That was probably one of the best memories I’ve had.
Laura Michelle Kelly (Sylvia Llewelyn Davis)
I had been in Mary Poppins in London and I had gone away to do another job, and I came to watch the first week of Mary Poppins on Broadway and I watched it as if I had never been a part of it before. I got completely lost in it. And watching her go over me up there, I’ll never forget it. Then I had the privilege to play it on Broadway and I never forgot the feeling I got that the audience gets. It was almost as if I was having an out of body experience; it was just so stunning, and I really think we are getting there with this show.
Teal Wicks (Mary Barrie)
I’ve had so many but I’m going to go for it and say Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby. I was obsessed with the Mary Martin Peter Pan; I knew that version before I knew the Disney version. I saw the tour when I was little, and seeing it come to life onstage and seeing Cathy Rigby flying and flipping was really magic to me. I still have to fulfill my dream of being Peter Pan and flipping through the sky over the theatre.
Carolee Carmello (Madame du Maurier)
I’m going to go back to one of the first shows I saw on Broadway, the original production of Evita. And I was not in the business at the time—I came to this late—I was a business major in college. I never planned to do this, and I went and saw that show and it was so groundbreaking to me. All the media presence and Hal Prince’s brilliant direction and Patti! It kind of changed my life. I don't think I walked out of there thinking, ‘I’m going to do that’ but something got sparked. I just thought it was the most awesome thing I’d ever seen.
Mia Michaels (Choreographer)
As a kid it was Annie. It changed my life, and in that moment I fell in love with musical theatre. I was obsessed with Andrea McArdle; I went home and learned every song. But as a choreographer, it’s West Side Story—until the end! It is so timeless and the most brilliant choreography you never want to go near. Jerome Robbins was perfection—such a physical choreographer but with technique—so brilliant. I wish Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins were still alive. I’d never let them go; I’d annoy them. I want to know what made them tick.
Diane Paulus (Director)
Every show I work on is like a baby so you can’t play favorites, but our first preview of Finding Neverland at A.R.T. was pretty magical. There’s nothing like a new musical being performed for the first time ever. And feeling that audience’s connection to the story rocked my world and made me feel there is something so powerful in this story that needs to be told.
Experience all the breathtaking wonder and magic of ‘Finding Neverland’ at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, beginning March 15.