Tag Archives: Shakespeare Theatre Company

Peter Pan and Wendy at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC

This is the last weekend to catch Peter Pan and Wendy at the Shakespeare Theatre here in Washington, but tickets are still available for all remaining performances.

This being the 21st century, the show is notable for its non-traditional casting. Not only is Tinkerbell played by an actress, rather than by the usual flashlight beam or laser pointer, but Nana the dog is actually played by a dog, instead of by a man in a dog suit! Peter Pan and Wendy are given equal billing in the title. Most transgressive of all, Peter Pan is played by a young male, instead of by a mature lady!  Pretty woke, eh?

Here are some images from the show’s website:

The Darling Children's Bedroom

The Darling Children’s Bedroom



Yes, Pirates! And smart pirates, too. Not a one of them is smiling at that crocodile.

The Pirate Ship

The Pirate Ship



Wendy and Peter

Wendy and Peter

A Memorable Performance

Peter Pan has been performed on stage for more than a hundred years, but only rarely has a production been more memorable than the one that has become known as the “Greenport (Long Island) High School Peter Pan Fiasco of 2007”.

And cheers to the young cast, who kept their heads through all the chaos, knowing that The Show Must Go On.

Playing Peter Pan

In the Elizabethan Age, women were barred by law from appearing on stage, and female roles were played by men. In theatrical versions of Peter Pan, on the other hand, the role of Peter Pan, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, was traditionally played by a mature woman.

Some examples:

Jean Arthur was almost 50 years old when she played the role in the1950 Broadway production, and she was such a brilliant actress that she made it work. The show had music by Leonard Bernstein, and Boris Karloff playing the Captain Hook/George Darling roles

Mary Martin, 41, won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in the 1954 Broadway version. After the show had closed, the cast reunited for a live broadcast of the production on NBC TV. It attracted 65 million viewers, which, at the time, was the biggest audience ever for a TV show.

Cathy Rigby was only 20 when she first played the role in 1974, but she starred in the musical’s 1990 Broadway revival, and then toured the show. She played Peter Pan into her 60s, retiring in 2013.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

For the past five years, the National Theatre in London has had a program called National Theatre Live, which films live performances of National Theatre plays in high definition, and makes the productions available in select cinemas around the world.  In Washington, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is the venue of choice.

Last week I saw a beautiful production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which was based on Mark Haddon’s novel, and adapted by Simon Stephens. The play swept the 2013 Laurence Olivier Awards, winning Best New Play, Best Director, Best Actor (Luke Treadaway–brilliant in the role), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Nicola Walker, late of Spooks aka MI5, Last Tango in Halifax, etc.) and three other categories.

They play’s London run was interrupted in mid-December 2013 when a portion of the theatre’s roof collapsed.  Performances in London didn’t resume until June.  A production will open on Broadway in September at the Barrymore Theatre.

During intermission, we discussed the differences between seeing this version and seeing the play on stage.  I think the performance we saw that night might actually be the best way to experience the play–it combined the immediacy of the live performance w/the cinematic tools that let us fully appreciate the brilliant staging and choreography.

An awesome theatrical experience, and one of the high points of the year so far.