If you believe, Star Struck’s “Peter Pan” is a must see

by W. Fred Crow
Fremont Bulletin – January 18, 2007

Star Struck Musical Theatre brings to its stage “Peter Pan,” that perennial classic of charm and youth just right for young and old. Director Lori Stokes pulled out the stops to entertain. From the stunning Neverland curtain that is simply eye candy, to a set engulfed in color and imagination, Star Struck’s “Pan” packs a punch. And I’m picky when it comes to Peter’s tale. You see, “Peter Pan” was the first live play I remember seeing. The year was 1956 and I saw Mary Martin fly. Today’s youth may remember Cathy Rigby or Sandy Duncan reprising the role of Peter Pan, but for we baby boomers, Mary Martin will always be Peter.

The story is well worn and on the tippy tongue of most parents and children. Peter Pan refuses to grow up. And he likes to listen to stories being told to the Darling children. When he loses his shadow, he encounters Wendy. Pan wants his shadow back and a storyteller/mom for the lost boys. Wendy is his choice. She agrees to the adventure and flies off with Peter and her brothers to Neverland. There she meets the Lost Boys, Tiger Lily and the Indians, and the sinister and evil Captain Hook, his first mate, Smee, and the pirates. And a ticking croc. We cannot leave out the ticking croc.

There is so much to praise about Star Struck’s Peter Pan production. Juliane Godfrey (Peter) seemed at ease with her feet on the ground or flying 20 feet above the stage. She was a delight in the role of Pan, carrying an infectious giggle, a playful smirk, and some great vocals. Playing Peter Pan was a strong reprise of her other mischievous role as Cat in “Cat in the Hat.”

Pan’s nemesis, Captain Hook, is brilliantly brought to life by Ray Joseph. He played another strong character, Fagan, in Star Struck’s “Oliver!” Joseph paraded the stage as an over-the-top swashbuckler right out of the storybook, in command of everything except his nerves (they tend to go awry when he hears a clock’s tick-tock.) Seems a croc got his hand and wants the rest of him. A swallowed clock provides the only early warning of its approach. His unhandy companion, Smee, was enjoyably played by Jordan Aragon. He was suitable daft and confused and a delightfully unintended barrier to Hook’s endeavors.

The large cast of pirates and Indians and lost boys and Tinker Bell were a treat, totally entertaining, and deserving of credit for a wonderful production. The orchestra, under the baton of Nancy Godfrey, never missed a beat and provided solid and rich sounds. ZFX Flying provided the physical lift necessary to pull off “Peter.” Peter must fly. ZFX and the ground crew flew the kids quite nicely. If you believe, this is a must-see show.

Star Struck’s production of “Peter Pan” runs until Jan. 28 at the Smith Center at Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont. It is selling out fast and Star Struck Musical Theatre has added two matinee performances, Jan. 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. Call (510) 659-1319 for reservations and information.