FINDING NEVERLAND Review by Gadi Elkon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINDING NEVERLAND is the Broadway musical that tells the fascinating story of how Peter became Pan. Based on the Academy Award®-winning film of the same name, it has been brought to extraordinary life by the team behind Shakespeare in Love, Chicago and Pippin.  From Finding Neverland Website

Finding Neverland closes it's magical run at The Winspear Opera House on July 23rd.  Click through for Gadi Elkon's review of the truth behind the story of Peter Pan.

Allan Knee's 1998 play first reminded us of the truth behind the "Man Who Was Peter Pan" that led to Marc Forster's oscar nominated film.  The wit and heart behind those productions showcased the real story of how J.M. Barrie risked so much to find his inner child.  James Graham's book for the musical gets to that inner heart even though it takes a quirky detour to open.  The funky style of the musical hits it's real zenith moment with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies solo number, "All That Matters".  Her honest take on what she is battling for as a single mother highlights one of the best songs I've seen on the stage this year.  Christine Dwyer's soulful rendition as Sylvia honestly hits you in the gut and that punch keeps you connected through the entire production.  The power behind what she's talking about fully reverbrate with the ultimate fate of the Davies character. I didn't expect this production to showcase such an amazing moment that honestly stuck with me a full week after viewing it live.

I don't want to spoil Dwyer's incredible song so instead I'll give you a nice treat with the original broadway album version from artist Christina Perri.

The other element of the production that stands out is the sense of humor and even the slightly dark comedic take.  From J.M. Barrie's full dive into childlike life to Charles Frohman's constant search for finanical victory highlights the witty book by Graham.  Billy Harrigan Tighe endearing quality as Barrie even seems more fitting than Matthew Morrison's broadway version.  Veteran actor John Davidson utterly shines though as Frohman/Captain Hook.  His zeal is contagious and the switch from cane to hook is such a fun treat for any audience that witnesses this production live.  As much as we love Peter, Wendy, The Lost Boys and even Nanny it's always Captain James Hook who takes over.  As we see with the book, Hook is the full completion of the Peter Pan story and the full realization of Barrie's fantastic tale.  Also a quick shout out to production members Dwelvan David, Matthew Quinn and Corey Rives who all steal scenes.  These three have a real fun time and the audience gave some of the biggest ovational moments to these three players.

Tony® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair) directs this innovative musical featuring an original score by noted composer Gary Barlow and Grammy® winner Eliot Kennedy, with a book by celebrated playwright James Graham and choreography by three-time Emmy® winner Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance,” Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium). Packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, FINDING NEVERLAND is a timeless story about the power of imagination… and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up.

In the end, the power gained from "All That Matters" magically never wanes and that constant fight in each following number is impressive.  The end of the first act literally blows you away as the subwoofers have never hit as hard at The Winspear Opera House.  That power jumps forth from the opening of the second act and even through the ultimate reveal of Sylvia's fate comes forth we never stop the roller coaster.  A production that hits you with that fairy dust and doesn't let you down from the clouds above.  Don't miss this one!  For all the juicy details of the production's final week here in Dallas please go, here.

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