‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ to open Sept. 26

From+left+to+right%2C+members+of+the+%22Peter+and+the+Starcatcher%22+cast%3A+Liz+De+Vere+Hunt%2C+Maaz+Ahmed+and+Will+Knox.
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‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ to open Sept. 26

From left to right, members of the

From left to right, members of the "Peter and the Starcatcher" cast: Liz De Vere Hunt, Maaz Ahmed and Will Knox.

Photo by Claire Gallagher

From left to right, members of the "Peter and the Starcatcher" cast: Liz De Vere Hunt, Maaz Ahmed and Will Knox.

Photo by Claire Gallagher

Photo by Claire Gallagher

From left to right, members of the "Peter and the Starcatcher" cast: Liz De Vere Hunt, Maaz Ahmed and Will Knox.

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“Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning” is a famous quote that Disney movie watchers can hear Peter Pan say. Many remember the adventurous tale of Wendy, Michael and John with Peter Pan in Neverland. But how did Peter Pan come to be a boy forever?

“Peter and the Starcatcher” will open Sept. 26 at the Helfaer Theatre at Marquette University. Based on a book series, the play features Peter Pan’s origin story and how he came to be the childish character that people know.

The play features Nick Cordonnier, a senior in the College of Communication as Peter, Caroline Norton, a senior in the College of Communication as Molly Aster, Will Knox, a junior in the College of Communication as Lord Leonard Aster, Katie Dickey, a junior in the College of Communication as Black Stache and Liz De Vere Hunt, a senior in the College of Health Sciences as Teacher.

“It’s a play and musical at the same time. … It goes through how (Peter) meets Molly, who is Wendy’s mom, and how he turns into Peter Pan, gets his name and stays in Neverland,” De Vere Hunt said.

De Vere Hunt started in theater in third grade and continued to perform in middle and high school.

“I was unsure if I wanted to do it, but it sparked a creative mind and interest,” De Vere Hunt said. “I love it.”

De Vere Hunt’s character, Teacher, is a mermaid who explains to Peter what he needs to do to become a boy.

Along with De Vere Hunt, Maaz Ahmed, a sophomore in the College of Communication, reflected on his beginning in theater.

“I got pulled into my seventh grade choir teacher’s room and got asked to run the light board for Beauty and the Beast,” Ahmed said. “I auditioned for the next show and got invested in high school. … I decided I had to make this my career.”

Ahmed saw a production of “Peter and the Starcatcher” two or three years ago and said it is his favorite play.

“To finally be a part of it … I’m so excited to step on stage for that first night and feel the energy bouncing between the cast members,” Ahmed said. “It fills the space with an energy.”

Ahmed’s character, Prentiss, goes from being a bully to one of Peter’s best friends.

While anticipating the fast-approaching opening night, the cast had a chance to reflect on the production of the show.

“The rehearsal process has been a very collaborative experience. … We have a wonderful director, Maggie (Spanuello),” Knox said. “She  roughly blocked the whole thing and gave us the creative ability.”

Knox, who has performed in eight main-stage productions at Marquette, said he likes that the process has been interactive and collaborative. He will be performing as Lord Aster, who is Wendy’s father and holds the power to transform Peter from a young orphan to Peter Pan.

The cast spent time with the script over the summer and they came back a week earlier than the rest of campus to start working in person on production.

Spanuello discussed the rehearsal process and what has gone into preparing the production.

“There is a lot of creativity and a lot of focus necessary to do a piece like this,” Spanuello said in an email. “We have musicians in rehearsal with us, a fight director, a dialect coach, a music director and a director. … At any time, the actors are getting instructions from any one of us.”

With all the effort put forth, the excitement of being able to finally perform is present among the cast.

“Once you see the lights, the props and the costumes, it puts you in the mindset of wanting to do it right now,” Knox said. “You can’t put words to that experience.”

De Vere Hunt said she was excited to tell the story of Peter Pan and that the show would feature female empowerment.

Ahmed said in past, Broadway productions of the show only had one woman cast in the play. Recently, regional productions of the play have cast agender, meaning those casting the show did not look at specific gender roles.

Ahmed also said there are a lot of women involved in the show who really uplift the cast’s perspective.

The production runs from Sept. 26-29 and Oct. 2-4, takes a break Oct. 5 for Homecoming and comes back one more day Oct. 6.

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