WAKE UP BROADWAY FANS!! We have more performances coming your way on NEW YORK BROADWAY TOURS? TOP 40 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. We continue to play the best of Broadway leading up to The 72nd Annual Tony Awards just 37 days from now. Ready for another Broadway adventure?
At # 37 on our countdown, we are going to take a trip to the place you never have to worry about growing up?. Neverland. To get there, join a brave and enthusiastic boy who reminds us that we need faith, trust, and pixie dust to get there. That boy of course is known as PETER PAN!!! Based on the beloved story created by J.M. Barrie (who also wrote the book), the musical features a music by Mark Charlap and Jule Styne along with Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green.
From the 1980 telecast, Sandy Duncan as the title role and the Darling Children take flight in the show?s spectacular Act 1 finale I?M FLYING.
PETER PAN first premiered in England and then later on Broadway in 1904? Originally it was a straight play. At the time there were already successful productions of the play adaptation around the world plus the beloved 1953 Disney animated film version. Just like with the musical today, the original play version had the title character played by a woman
The idea for the musical originally came about when Edwin Lester (producer and founder of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera) got the American rights to adapt the story of PETER PAN as a musical written for actress Mary Martin for Broadway. For its initial production under the direction of acclaimed director and choreographer Jerome Robbins, it started as a Pre-Broadway West Coast tour that initially flopped. However, the creative team continued to develop the show. The score had to be brushed up and several songs needed up be added to the show in order to become a full-scale musical. One of the biggest changes was ending (that is now used today in most productions) based on Barrie?s sequel PETER & WENDY.
Following an additional world premiere out of town tryout in California in the Summer of 1954, the updated original production of PETER PAN officially took off to Broadway. It played the Winter Garden Theatre for a limited run of 154 performances. The cast featured Mary Martin in the title role,
In addition, the producers got offered a deal with NBC to have the production be filmed as the first full length Broadway Musical to be filmed for Color TV featuring the full cast. The live TV production went on the air in 1955 and attracted a then-record audience of 65-million viewers. It was a huge success, the production was recaptured again the following year of 1956 and then again in 1960 (which is now available to own on DVD). All 3 live productions (starring Mary Martin) were all filmed at NBC Studios with no live audience.
For the original Broadway production on stage, it was nominated and won all 3 of its Tony Awards in 1955 including Best Leading Actress in a Musical (for Mary Martin). In addition, Mary Martin also won an Emmy for her performance in the Live TV production
From there, PETER PAN went on to become a big hit. It went on to be revived 5 times here on Broadway. The first Broadway revival in 1979 (as seen in the video) at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre running for 554 performances. The cast featured Sandy Duncan as the title role. That first revival was nominated for 2 Tony Awards in 1980 for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Leading Actress in a Musical (for Sandy Duncan). However, it lost both its categories.
Then in 1990, PETER PAN returned back to Broadway?s Lunt Fontanne Theatre for a limited 45 performance engagement. This revival was nominated for 2 Tony Awards in 1990 including Best Revival of a Musical but lost both its categories.
Following the success of the 1990 engagement, it was brought back to Broadway that very next year of 1991 playing the Minskoff Theatre for an additional 48 performances.
It was then revived in 1998 at the Marquis Theatre for 48 performances. It did so well, the production toured and was then brought back to Broadway in 1999 at the Gershwin Theatre for 166 performances. That late 90?s engagement was nominated for only 1 Tony for Best Revival of a Musical but lost the category.
For 1990, 1991, 1998, and 1999 engagements, the title role of PETER PAN was played by acclaimed Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby who played the role for the longest time on and off. She was also nominated for a Tony in 1990 for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.
PETER PAN also returned to New York City in 2005 part of a Farewell Tour for Cathy Rigby during the Holiday Season at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. However 6 years later, she didn?t want to give it up just yet and went back playing the role for another limited engagement at The Garden back in 2011.
During its late 90?s National Tour, one of the performances with Rigby was filmed in California at the La Mirada Theatre in Los Angeles, California. It was seen on A&E Network and was later released (and still available to own on DVD).
Most recently, NBC presented a second major live TV production of PETER PAN back in 2014 starring Allison Williams in the title role along with Christopher Walken as ?Captain Hook? one of this year’s Tony nominees Taylor Louderman as “Wendy”, and an all star cast. Reviews were mixed but the original broadcast was seen by 9.21 million viewers.
Doesn?t this performance make you want to FLY to Neverland?
Peter Pan 1980 Tony Awards (“I’m Flying” – Sandy Duncan and children)
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