Today@Sam Article

Swashbuckling Musical Sets Sail At SHSU

Nov. 9, 2016
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Story by Angela Theis. 

What went on in Neverland before Peter Pan became its most notorious resident?

Sam Houston State University’s Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre will offer an answer in its production of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” a “sort of prequel” to “Peter Pan,” in the University Theatre Center’s Erica Starr Theatre Nov. 9-12.

Presented at 8 p.m. each day, as well as at 2 p.m. on Saturday, the musical explores the idea of just what brought Peter Pan to life, while lightheartedly showcasing immense depths of greed and despair and the strength that resides in bonds of friendship, duty and love.

“It’s based on a series of books, one of which is called ‘Peter and the Starcatchers,’ and it is built, to some degree, as the prequel to ‘Peter Pan,’” said director and department chair Penelope Hasekoester, who stresses that the show is family friendly. “It essentially begins to tell us how Peter Pan became ‘Peter Pan’ and how the mythology of that [started].”

As an imagined prequel to the original story of Peter Pan, “Peter and the Starcatcher” lays the groundwork for many characters and aims to show audiences how each character evolved into the already well-known story.

“We don’t have Wendy, but we have the prototypes for some of these [original] characters,” Hasekoester said. “Part of the fun of watching this [show] is saying ‘Oh, that’s where that came from’ or ‘Oh, so and so will become so and so.’” 

“Peter and the Starcatcher” illuminates what happened in Neverland before Peter Pan showed up, how he got there, and the intertwining story behind all the characters so many already love and connect with.

The show, which rose to critical acclaim on Broadway, uses a dozen actors to portray almost 100 characters.

Driven with intense imagination, the main actors play the roles of The Boy, Molly Aster, Black Stache, and the other pirates or orphan boys, but they also often play the secondary roles of other characters and mythical creatures.

On top of embodying many supplementary characters, the actors of “Peter and the Starcatcher” break the “fourth wall”—the imaginary barrier between the actors and the audience.

“It is story theatre, and that means that people step outside of characters and talk directly to the audience,” Hasekoester said.

“Peter and the Starcatcher” is not a typical SHSU musical. Unlike many past musicals, full of typical Broadway-style numbers, “Peter and the Starcatcher” uses a unique musical combination and an almost constant underscore to complement the story.

“The music is a very different type than what we normally have; it’s a combination of vaudeville and music hall,” Hasekoester said. “The entire piece is pretty much underscored with sound and music, so it’s a little different.”

Tickets to can be purchased online at or by phone at 936.294.2339.

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