Off to never never land


Noelle Brown, as Peter Pan, sings during dress rehearsal of Windmore Foundation for the Arts’ production of “Peter Pan, Jr.”

Before you can quote, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it,” Peter Pan Jr. the Musical and Family Arts Day, at Verdun will arrive.

Courtesy of the Windmore Foundation for the Arts, the famed play will open with two performances – 1 and 5 p.m. at the Verdun Amphitheater, on June 17, at 17044 Verdun Adventure Bound Trail, Rixeyville.

Welcome to Neverland, or the Verdun Adventure Bound Amphitheater, where local students from local middle schools, home schools, and high school are gearing up to take their impending audience on journey where characters such as Wendy, Smee, Peter Pan, Tiger Lilly and Captain Hook exist.

Thanks to the efforts of Windmore Foundation for the Arts executive director, Debra Smyers, 27 local youth will showcase their talents as they give their rendition of Sir James Matthew Barrie’s famed novel, Peter Pan.

Just three days before the curtains open, the cast, and volunteer crew are hard at work with dress rehearsals and stage rehearsals.

“When you hear them sing and dance, you’re going to think that they’ve been auditioned,” Smyers said. “They are caring individuals and they are great as a team. It’s like one big family out there.”

Before Noelle Brown, also known as the musical’s Peter Pan entertained the notion of participating in the play, she was looking for something for something to occupy her time, but it occurred to her during a family drive that earning the title role in Peter Pan could take her thespian talents to a new level.

“Because I do plays in the summertime, I immediately wanted to do it. I love Peter Pan, in fact, I love the whole story,” Brown said.

Peter Pan’s antagonistic villain, Captain Hook, played by Eastern View High School sophomore Jacob Flemming leads a cast of pirates with the hope of casting a shadow over the dreams of Pan’s friends hoping to return to the real world.

“I heard about the play a couple of months ago, and I got really excited,” Flemming said. “I really like acting, and I am happy to have the chance to act again over the summer.”

The play is supported by a number of volunteers, including director, Mary Kidd-Flemming and her husband John. John is in charge of sound and shop building.

“It’s just enchanting to see the trees in the background, and nature,” Mary Kidd-Flemming said. “The children have been working really hard on the script, and the play – but they have also been having a lot of fun.”

In between performances, the audience will be entertained by Mandy Clown, and her array of antics that include riding a unicycle, making balloon art, and face painting. In addition, food vendors, book vendors, LuLaRoe, and Usborne Books will be available.

Tickets are $5-7.50 for children and $10 for adults.While the event is scheduled for outdoors, there will be indoor accommodations in case of inclement weather. For more information, call Windmore at 540-547-4333.


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