Allowing for the inclement weather, Thursday, March 9, 2023, became Opening Night for “Peter Pan” by the Serrano High School Theatre Arts department, Bravo! Performance Ensemble presentation. With a blizzard warning, roadblocks, and snow day delays hampering dress rehearsals, the cast and crew of this colorful play took the Serrano High School Performing Arts Center (PAC) by storm. Three packed evening shows and a Saturday Matinee provided shelter and entertainment for theatergoers.
When the audience attends an event early, it usually means a good turnout. The breeze-chilled opening night brought eager guests filing in thirty minutes before curtain call to get a good vantage point. At the PAC, there is not a bad seat in the house. The well-groomed auditorium boasts excellent acoustics and has a wonderful stage. You could feel the “buzz” in the air that only attending live theatre can produce. As the curtain opened upon act one, scene one, you could hear the audience hush. Tonight’s performance would showcase the Gold cast. With so much talent available, Directory Beverly Quinn uses two sets of cast members, a Blue Cast and a Gold Cast. This allows more acting opportunities for more players by doubling up on many key characters and sharing leading roles on multiple nights.
The first scene includes Wendy Darling, played brilliantly by Charlie Moen, and her two younger brothers John played by Ryan Griswold, and Michael performed by Julia Harden, preparing for bed in the upstairs nursery of an upper-class Bloomsbury, London apartment, circa 1910. A British accent was well-spoken throughout the play by the actors, adding much character to the show. The scene begins with Helen Raney playing Nana, the pet dog, lying on the nursery floor, and Mrs. Darling, performed by Bryanna Rivera, persuading the children to go to sleep.
Wonderfully acted, Peter Pan was expertly cast to Serrano senior Quinn Bailey, whose vibrance in the role seemed to radiate throughout the auditorium, playfully drawing the audience into the show. Peter Pan and Tinkerbell then appear at the window from out of nowhere to persuade Wendy and her adventuresome brothers to travel to a land of adventure with no responsibilities, “Neverland.” Senior Gary Worth, portraying the infamous “Captain Hook,” was in his element ordering his fellow pirates around.
The scenery was convincing and simple at the same time, allowing the imagination to play into the mysterious island and its caves. Janet Eaton and CTE Stagecraft Stage Production did a masterful job taking the audience away to “Neverland” with show-stopping effects and visuals on this thespian adventure-comedy. Tick-Tock, the angry crocodile, is constantly on the loose, looking for Captain Cook’s other hand to bite off. Once again, CTE Stagecraft impressed, rolling out a nine-foot-long segmented crocodile throughout the night, finally catching up with Captain Hook and the evil pirates. Tinkerbell was ingeniously created using a laser light beam and the sound from a toy bell, expertly manned by the CTE Stagecraft crew. The scenes were changed out silently with seamless precision.
The kaleidoscope of cast members gave terrific performances. From “The Lost Boys” to the “Native Islanders,” all roles were tackled with vitality and enthusiasm. In attendance, Shannon, a sixth-grade teacher, mentioned, “I like the way they are incorporating Pre, Elementary, and Middle School performers as well.” This opening night performance of “Peter Pan” was well received with an abundance of applause and ovation. Director Beverly Quinn said about the production, “Resilience is the key! Successful even after 12 stormy days trapped in our houses! So proud of the cast and crew!”
Considering the rescheduled events, an average attendance of 70 % was a good showing. Snowline Joint Unified School District Administration can be proud of the extra effort that went into producing this hundred-year-old family favorite. The show was well worth the small admission price per pirate–rain or shine. The Serrano High School Theatre Arts Department now focuses on the upcoming blockbuster, “Into the Woods,” showing April 28, 29, and May 5, 6 at 7:00 pm. at the PAC. For info, call (760)868-3222 ext. 6.