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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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“Peter and the Starcatcher” provides insight on beloved characters

For those of you who grew up hooked on the adventures of Peter Pan, it’s easy to understand why — after all, who doesn’t want to be forever young? If you’ve wondered about the origins of Peter Pan and Captain Hook, you are in luck because “Peter and the Starcatcher” will be sailing into port at Pioneer Theatre Company Dec. 5 through 20.

“Peter and the Starcatcher” has quickly become a Broadway sensation that has delighted fans of Peter Pan by providing a back story to many of the beloved characters from J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy. Based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, “Peter and the Starcatcher” develops the origins of not only Peter Pan but also his nemesis Captain Hook, who we find out was originally known as Black Stache.

“Playing Black Stache in his beginning stages before he becomes Captain Hook is quite exciting because it gives you a whole playground and universe in which to play in, and as an actor you always look for that,” said Leo Ash Evens, who plays the Black Stache. “The entire show is fast-paced with a lot of physical work and improv, and, of course, Peter Pan is a story that everyone loves and is a classic.”

The character of Black Stache requires the ability of Evens to create a larger-than-life villain who fills the stage and commands the attention of the audience through both fear and awe.

“I like that he can turn at the snap of a finger and in the blink of an eye. He can go from being very playful and silly and the next minute fly into a rage and threaten to slice someone’s throat open, so that’s super exciting,” Evens said. “It’s always fun when playing the villain to find humor in his inability to find it himself … You think of all the battles he’s fought and the men he has killed or thrown overboard. The life of a pirate is certainly not the everyman’s life that we live today, and that’s a lot of fun to explore.”

The show is a swashbuckling adventure of frenzied action that requires the actors to keep on their feet and pace themselves from one scene to the next, but there is also an element of humor, specifically in the interaction between Black Stache and his long-suffering sidekick Smee as the two trade punchlines.

The magic of “Peter and the Starcatcher” is in the excitement of not only seeing the origins of the beloved characters of the original story, but the fact it creates a whole new narrative on its own that builds on the world of Peter, while giving more insight to why Captain Hook is so bent on destroying Peter Pan. And like the original story, Peter Pan delivers a message about the importance of family, which is never more relevant than during the holiday season.

“In the big picture it really speaks to the family and contributes to the greater narrative of home, love and family, and that’s a big theme of the play,” Evens said. “The show is really its own fun magical journey, and there are certain times where you get hints of who certain people may end up being, and by the end the audience is definitely rewarded as the story comes full circle.”

“Peter and the Starcatcher” will premiere at Pioneer Theatre Company on Dec. 5. Tickets are available online and at the Pioneer Theatre box office.

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