originally published: 10/14/2022

(HADDON TOWNSHIP, NJ) — “To have faith is to have wings.” Ready to take flight with the second show of its 2022-2023 season, The Ritz Theater Company present Peter and the star catcher, the highly imaginative, Tony Award-winning play about the unknown origins of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Neverland. Led by Ritz Associate Artistic Director Matthew Weil, the production runs at the Ritz from October 21 through November 6.

“Most directors will tell you that we spend a good part of our artistic life struggling with the word ‘why’; why this piece, why this moment, etc. explains Mr. Weil when asked what he finds artistically inspiring in this particular piece. “It is very rare that the ‘how’ of a piece is more invigorating than the ‘why’. With Peter and the star catcher, however, this is exactly the case. Social relevance is easy with themes and characters as timeless as those featured in Peter Pan. That being said, I think the real magic and lasting impact of this piece lies in its style of presentation. This is the magic of theatre.

Peter and the star catcher upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan becomes “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” (aka Peter Pan). A wildly theatrical adaptation of the best-selling novels by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the play was conceived for the stage by directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers and written by Rick Elice, with music by Wayne Barker. From marauding pirates and tyrants of the jungle to unwitting comrades and unlikely heroes, the show playfully explores the depths of greed and despair and the bonds of friendship, duty and love. Featuring a dozen actors playing over 100 unforgettable characters, this family game uses ingenious storytelling and boundless imagination to bring the story to life.

The Ritz Theater presents

“It’s a room like Peter and the star catcher it touches on what makes theater such a unique and valuable artistic medium that deserves to be invested in and preserved,” says Mr. Weil. “You can’t have an experience like Peter and the star catcher on Netflix or at the cinema.

Mr. Weil’s creative team on this project is rounded out by musical and vocal director Kristy Joe Slough, set and lighting designer Jen Donsky, costume designer Megan Iafolla, stage manager Sara Viniar and assistant stage manager Ashley Engelson. As for the cast, the production includes Dylan Corbett as The Boy, Addison Clark as Molly Aster, Tommy Balne as Black Stache, Joe Carlucci as Smee, Zachary Moore as Prentiss, Elliot Colahan as Ted, Darryl Thompson Jr. as Lord Leonard Aster, AJ Klein as Bill Slank/Hawking Clam, Stephen Jackson as Mrs. Bumbrake/Professor, Nicholas French as Alf, Robert Repici as Captain Robert Falcon Scott, and Michael Arigot as Grempkin/Mack/Sanchez/Fighting Prawn. All are extremely excited to bring this innovative, dynamic and high-spirited show to the Ritz stage and to share this story with audiences of all ages.

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“I hope the audience will leave the theater feeling lighter and more upbeat than when they entered,” Weil concludes. “We’re asking the audience to actively engage with their inner child, to be silly, fun and frivolous.”

Ticket prices: General admission – $30; Artist/Student Rush — $15. Tickets available online, by phone and at the box office.

The Ritz Theater Company is located at 915 White Horse Pike Haddon Township, New Jersey.

PHOTOS: (TOP) Peter, played by Dylan Corbett; (BOTTOM) Black Stache, played by Tommy Balne