SCHOOL DAYS -A world where people don’t grow up and are able to fly, will soon be discovered at Delaware Valley High School. Later this week, the cast of Peter Pan will present viewers with a show of “magic,” said the new Theater Director, Caroline Lehman. 

This show marks the first for Lehman as director, although she has been with the drama program for 26 years, holding various roles that include assistant director and choreographer. 

A week before the curtains opened, Lehman said the cast of 38 and crew were doing “stupendous” despite the weather delays, that affected four weeks of rehearsal. In fact, she didn’t feel the young performers were “lacking much in any one area.” Instead, she said its essential that everyone be positive.  

It will be the “magic of Neverland” with the inclusion of acting, dancing and camaraderie amongst the various characters, that Lehman feels will wow the audience, “from beginning to end” she said. Because Peter Pan is an old tale, if the cast can “stay true to the script” and portray the story as its meant to be, then that will make the students’ latest performance special. 

Since the second week of January, the cast has been readying for the show that Sarah Hawthorne who is a junior and will be Wendy, believes offers “symbolism” for a high school production. She explained that, with Peter trying to take Wendy in one direction, yet the lost boys also looking to her as a mother and then reflecting on reality, as the cast considers college and life, it makes one think about how fast time is going and, in the end, growing up is “inevitable.” 

Jason Block, will be the ever-feared Captain Hook. Now a senior, in years past, Block has been prince characters and because he prides himself on being “nice,” he said its been a challenge coming to be this character that is “polar opposite” of his personality. But, that aside, he is excited as Hook “pushes” him to be someone he’s normally not. At first, Block acknowledged that he was a bit nervous, but now he realizes being someone he truly isn’t has made him a better actor. Playing a role so different than himself, has been enjoyable as he been able to “let loose.”

Also a senior, Chrissy Nagrowski will be Peter Pan. The role, she had no expectations of receiving, since she’s always been supporting characters in years past she said. This production will task her with singing publicly for the first time, with over 10 solos. Through the rehearsals, she has been “pushed a ton” by practicing her solos and having to be “sad on stage” she said.

Of her character, Hawthorne considers Wendy to be “sweet and giving” as she cares for the boys. But, she called Wendy a “flat character” because she is simply a “sweetheart” that cares for the boys. It hasn’t been easy though, maintaining a British accent that is “believable.” Despite the simplicity of the role, Nagrowski noted how Hawthorne is adding her “own dimensions” to the character.

Nagrowski called Peter Pan a “very arrogant” character, but Peter is also “fun” because his emotions are like those of a child, which are often “bouncing back and forth.” This is unlike herself in reality, so she considers it to be “cool” to be such a character. She’s looking at this role as a “new experience” she said. Since she is not “wired to think like a kid,” that Nagrowski feels has been her greatest challenge because she must act like one.

Aside from being Hook, Block will also be Mr. Darling who he feels is similar to the pirate, as they have a “cool contrast” with the characters having “similarities.” Hook however, is “more over the top.” 

This show, Nagrowski said is perfect for all ages as there is a lot of color and noise with the various characters offering entertainment, while relaying the message that it is “inevitable” that people must grow up. But, they should “live in the moment” enjoying what is happening then and there. 

There are only a few actors who will be flying. Over a course of four days with the direction of Flying by Foy, the cast practiced. The flying is what Nagrowski, Block and Hawthorne feel will wow the audience. While it has been enjoyable, it hasn’t come without some pain said Nagrowski. She compared the harness to a “crotch-less baby swing” that is just “awful.”

Nagrowski commended Lehman for handling stress so well. Instead of fretting about the weather and lost time, Lehman told the cast to show up for a few Saturday rehearsals and so, because of that, Nagrowski felt ready for the show. She called Lehman a “great leader” who is “full of excitement and love and passion.”

A senior, Jonathan Langberg has been a member of the technical crew since he was a freshman. As a member of the tech crew, Langberg works the lights and sounds. The job, Langberg said he enjoys as he is able to use technology to “make the magic of the show come to life.” With there being flying in Peter Pan, that makes lighting trickier, as he must keep a good aim and there are more effects that must mix with the design. 

The job, Langberg called “interesting” as he must keep the director’s vision while not taking much guidance. The flying in the show is “cool” as there are “tricks” done. This year, Langberg has let the underclassmen step in a little more, so he said it hasn’t been to tiring.  

A DV alum, Curtis Jaeger has returned to assist with the technical aspects of the show. Being a member of the tech team is important, as the technology is an “integral part to the process” with the lights and sounds being essential to telling the story, Jaeger said. Every show is different, but with the incorporation of middle school students as the lost boys, that he feels makes for the “different dynamics” of the show. 

A key component of his job, Jaeger said is ensuring communication is clear amongst everyone, so coordination and timing can happen without difficulties. The show he loves, because there are many pieces that make it “funny and fun,” yet keep it interesting.

Lehman who is also a speech pathologist in the DVES has committed to remaining the theater director until she retires in three years. Having also been involved in the Ritz Theater in Hawley for 18 years, she said it is the “process” of the production that she truly loves. From start to finish and working with children, that makes all the work worthwhile. Through theater she is able to “create” and for kids, she likes seeing them feel good about what they are doing. 

A week before the show, some of the typical “stressfulness and craziness” remained Lehman said, but she expected everything to come together. The audiences will be amazed, simply because of the “magic of Neverland” along with the acting, dancing and camaraderie of all of the characters that will allow people to enjoy the show from “beginning to end” as it “will all be magical.” 

Peter Pan will run Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 21 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m. at the DVHS.