‘Peter Pan’ takes to the skies at the VST

Think lovely thoughts.

That’s not hard to do watching the Virginia Samford Theatre’s delightful production of “Peter Pan.” It’s a throwback to big musicals of the past, one with fun costumes and a set that’s manually moved around on the stage and doesn’t rely on computer projections for its oomph.

That doesn’t mean that Ben Boyer’s set isn’t charming, but it means it doesn’t take the focus off the talented actors, singers and dancers on stage.

And yes, Peter Pan and others do fly, but we’ll get to that in a second.

“Peter Pan” is a musical that, despite its enduring popularity, isn’t done as often as others, at least in Birmingham. Based on J.M. Barrie’s tale of the boy who refuses to grow up, it’s chock full of nice songs like “I Gotta Crow,” “Neverland” and “I’m Flying.”

It boasts a great title character of course, but it’s also filled with wonderful roles for young actors and comedic actors, and VST’s production delivers on all counts.

Lilly Burchfield, a recent Samford University graduate, makes for a fine Peter Pan, and Kyle Holman is a treat in the dual roles of Mr. Darling and Peter’s nemesis Captain Hook, aided in the comedy department by the oh-so-funny Nick Crawford as his right-hand pirate, Smee. Other standouts include Alexandria Brandstetter, Banks Quinney and Sam Holt as siblings Wendy, Michael and John; Kristen Campbell as Mrs. Darling; Shelby Grace Justice as Tiger Lily; and Mary Henning Dale in the small but pivotal role of Jane.

But that just scratches the surface. Director/choreographer Henry Scott fills the stage with talented performers, with his energetic choreography giving them a showcase.

The Lost Boys, pirates and Neverlanders also include Alexander Wesley, Sam Eagan, Chambers Garrison, Vincent Colburn, Sawyer Smith, Braxton Quinney, Zach Tarwater, Stephen Bush, Anthony Cucinotta, Zach Skaggs, Lukasz Janyga, Paul Boyer, Meredith Vaughn, Labrina Riles, Emma Fox, Mason Morrow, Brennen Foy and Spencer Schillaci.

The talented orchestra, under the direction of Michael King, includes Collin Zuckerman, Lori Ardovino, Ryan Murrell, Joey Johnson, Sarah Freed and Maury Levine. (And we can hear all of them, as well as the cast, thanks to Boyer, who in addition to the set designed the sound).

They’re all dressed in fun costumes designed by Marilyn Locke.

The magic to “Peter Pan” is still the flying, though, and VST’s flight scenes seemed to go off without a hitch. Especially charming are the moments where Peter flies with Wendy, Michael and John, though Burchfield’s solo entrances as Peter are also impressive.

It’s all just a lot of fun, a throwback to big, lush family musicals of the past. But “Peter Pan” is here now, and you shouldn’t miss your chance to see it.

“Peter Pan,” at the Virginia Samford Theatre through July 2. Buy tickets here.

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