mens ugg boot style slippers ‘Peter Pan’ at Omaha’s Rose Theater is great family fun
This show has a lot of moving parts, so it’s not easy to create. It requires a well prepared cast of adults and kids who can sing and dance, sets that can morph from a house to a ship to a jungle, costumes ranging from a sheepdog to evening wear to pirate garb, an orchestra that’s playing nearly all the time and special effects that depict a twinkling fairy, among other things.
For the most part it came together seamlessly at Thursday night’s preview. It had some of the glitches that happen when cast and crew face an audience for the first time, but all were things that probably will vanish as they get more comfortable.
I’ve seen several productions of “Peter Pan,” and all featured a woman in the title role. Lane, instead, chose 14 year old Danny Denenberg, who will be a freshman at Omaha Central this fall and has grown up in Omaha’s community theater. He really put a fresh spin on the character less whimsical and tongue in cheek and more like an authentic teen boy, while still conveying his deep desire for a family as he tries to convince us that he needs only himself.
Sometimes his songs were hard to hear over the orchestra, and his delivery was a little tentative. A better sound mix might help.
Ablan Roblin’s hysterically evil Captain Hook was a worthy nemesis. He’s a master at physical comedy and just plain funny overall. And Tylie Tingelhoff, a recent Omaha Westside graduate, was amazing as Wendy. She has a strong, beautiful voice that belies her age her signature song, “Distant Melody,” was remarkable. Tingelhoff also mastered a British accent, along with “brothers” John (Jimmy Nguyen) and Michael (Kian Roblin).
The show was at its best, however, when they all were onstage with the Lost Boys and Hook’s goofy band of pirates. It was apparent that the kids, especially, had worked hard on their roles. Tiger Lily (Natalie Hanson) and her gang also were wonderful. Sherri Geerdes did her usual fine job outfitting them all.
This “Peter Pan” maintains the traditional style of Victorian fairy tale books while embracing an update that makes it less dated (and less offensive; like other modern productions, it replaces the “Ugg a Wugg” number by Tiger Lily and her Indian crew with a wordless dance, renames the Indian dance troupe as Pounce and dresses them all in gorgeous animal like leotards).
A phenomenal set by Tim McMath not only captured that Victorian vibe in the nursery but featured a neon colored jungle and a house that became part of a ship with just one turn. Jerry Brabec’s orchestra was tuneful if a little loud at times. Lighting designer Craig S. Moxon deserves praise for his Tinkerbell setup.
Sound was hit or miss, with a couple of jarring feedback issues. Stagehands also were visible from behind the scenes at times. And my companions and I found the costume for Nana, the nursemaid dog, rather off putting. The furry suit just didn’t work, though it could have been because the “dog” sometimes stood on two legs.
When Peter and the kids flawlessly fly, however, it’s easy to forget and forgive those small issues. This is the perfect show to launch a fun family summer.