WALLENAUPACK -  A classic tale of holding on to one's youth through friendship, adventure and fun will excite and entertain audiences when members of Wallenpaupack Area High School's theater program present Peter Pan next week.

Peter is a free spirit that never wants to grow up, and when he meets the Darling children; Wendy, John and Michael he is able to maintain his youth when they travel back to his home in Neverland. Once home, the Darling children meet the lost boys, who, like Peter never want to grow up. Instead, together the group meets Indians, and battle pirates who are led by the treacherous Captain Hook.

With an alligator and fairies, the cast of approximately 60, includes children from the Middle and North Intermediate Schools who will help the Darling children realize they miss their parents and that they do want to grow up.

As part of the magical experience, the audience will see a new talent members of the cast have acquired this spring, when they demonstrate their flying abilities.

When senior Morgan Miller heard there would be flying in the spring production, she didn't believe it. But, as Peter Pan she learned Theater Teacher Alison Hoffman wasn't joking. Flying, Miller said is “incredible,” and she is thankful for the experience. She explained that now that she is graduating and plans to enter the sociology or education field, her theater career will conclude, “with a final bang.” Excited, Miller said playing Peter Pan is great because he is one of her favorite Disney characters. Flying though, she said is like nothing she has ever done.

As Peter Pan, Miller said her role is unique because performing as a different gender is harder than one might expect. But, Miller doesn't mind, she said because during her theatrical career in high school, many of her roles have had a dark history. But this show, she said as Peter, the role reminds her that she has to enjoy life.

With the incorporation of the middle school students, a junior, Connor McLaughlin, said he is excited for a really good show. He explained that the students bring a new kind of energy that follows through into their acting. McLaughlin will be Captain Hook, which he had hoped for because he considers Captain Hook to be an interesting character.

Captain Hook's mighty side-kick, Smee will be portrayed by senior Matthew Ahner. Acting, Ahner said is fun because there is a special kind of feeling when the lights go on during opening night.

Ahner has enjoyed acting in school productions for years, but this year, he said it’s special because of the inclusion of the younger students. With a little more than a month before graduation, Ahner said he is ready, as he is set to attend Albright College for math education. His participation in theater, Ahner says has been, “really special.”    

Playing two roles, senior Marissa Rossitto said her character as Mrs. Darling, is fascinating because Mrs. Darling is not an average mother. She explained that Mrs. Darling is, “a little self-absorbed.” But, she is still a loving mother. Being Mrs. Darling, Rossitto said hasn't been to challenging, even though her character is very dramatic and theatrical.

Rossitto plans on pursuing theater, but she is not quite sure where yet. For her, Rossitto said performing is the best part because she enjoys seeing the audience's response, while also getting to be someone else for a few hours. Although this is not her first performance, it will be Rossitto's first time having two roles in one production. Aside from being Mrs. Darling, Rossitto will also be an Indian dancer. Going from a very reserved mother in one scene, to taking off a wig and adding war paint, she said is like nothing she has experienced before. In these roles, Rossitto said it has been the, “most bizarre and wonderful experience.”

Having never worked with young children in theater, Rossitto said it’s been great because the kids are very fun and hard workers. As her final high school performance, Rossitto said Peter Pan couldn't be better because of the inclusion of flying and the excellent cast.  

Performing as Michael, 6-year-old Andrew James Geesey will make his high school theater debut April 10. But, this production will not be Geesey 's first performance, because he has acted in a Ritz Theater production before. As Michael, Geesey said his character is really fun because he gets to fly as high as the stage curtain. Plus, aside from singing and dancing, Gessy is excited because Peter Pan is his favorite movie.

The WAHS production of Peter Pan will be presented April 10, 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. and April 13 at 2 p.m. The price is $5 for students 12 and under, and $8 for age 13 and up. Children under 3 are admitted free. Check online for ticket availability as reservations were filling fast.

On April 12 there will be a character breakfast with crafts, face painting and more. For further information visit http://www.wallenpaupack.org/wahsplayers/.