Cabaret Theatre premiers 1st mainstage production of the year

<p>The show’s director, Maya Mitterhoff, created her own adaptation of “Peter and the Starcatcher” for Rutgers students, after watching it multiple times on Broadway. The play will premiere tonight at Cabaret Theatre on Douglass campus.</p>

The show’s director, Maya Mitterhoff, created her own adaptation of “Peter and the Starcatcher” for Rutgers students, after watching it multiple times on Broadway. The play will premiere tonight at Cabaret Theatre on Douglass campus.

"Peter and the Starcatcher," Cabaret Theatre’s first mainstage production of the year, is premiering tonight and will run until Nov. 11 on Douglass campus.

Maya Mitterhoff, a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior and the play's director, said that "Peter and the Starcatcher" is a prequel to "Peter Pan." The play centers on a nameless orphan named Boy who goes on an adventure and meets a girl named Molly onboard a ship called the Neverland. Over the course of the play, Boy finds his true identity as the famous Peter Pan.

There's pirates and sailors ... they get shipwrecked on an island, and there are native people on the island, and there’s fighting and there’s a musical number. It’s kind of a lot of chaos, but it’s basically how 'Peter Pan' came to be,” Mitterhoff said.

There will be four showings, at 9 p.m. on Thursday, at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $8 for students, faculty, staff and senior citizens, and $12 for general admission.

Although the play is not a musical, it does include a piano and percussion score for sound effects and a few musical numbers.

Mitterhoff said that this show makes her nostalgic because she loved "Peter Pan" as a child. "Peter and the Starcatcher" is one of her favorite plays, and she has seen it performed on Broadway multiple times. 

But after seeing a high school’s version that she thought could have been much better, Mitterhoff decided to submit a proposal to direct a production of "Peter and the Starcatcher" at Cabaret Theatre.

“I thought ‘Hey, I think I could direct this really well,’” she said.

Mitterhoff worked on her proposal for six months before she started directing the play. It outlined her “artistic vision,” including how she envisioned the casting, costumes and set. The proposal was selected this summer, and Cabaret Theatre has been working on "Peter and the Starcatcher" since the middle of September.

First, Cabaret Theatre chooses the show’s professional staff, including the assistant director, music coordinator, stage manager and the props and costumes manager. Next, it held auditions and chose the cast, and then quickly began rehearsing by the end of the month.

Paolo Arceo, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and Cabaret Theatre’s artistic director, said he wants each production to sell out because the black-box theater only holds 78 people. 

“I know more people are familiar with the proscenium theater, but black box is more intimate. It’s more flexible and (reliant) on creativity and imagination,” Arceo said.

Arceo said that the casting for "Peter and the Starcatcher" was completely gender blind. The original script only has very few female characters, but Cabaret’s production includes several female actors playing traditionally male characters. Even Black Stache, better known as Captain Hook, is played by a woman. He wanted the show’s cast to reflect the diversity of Cabaret Theatre and its audience.

Katie Siegel, a School of Arts and Sciences junior who plays Molly, said that she is excited for the audience to see the show. 

“The audience of 'Peter and the Starcatcher' is going to get a show that's not only funny and entertaining but also tender and heartwarming. They'll fall in love with the characters instantly and have the best time cheering for the heroes and booing the villains (although sometimes they'll feel compelled to cheer for the villains as well),” she said.

The show has 12 actors in total, many of whom play more than one role. Mitterhoff said that the ensemble is very versatile and works together sort of like an improv group.

“I would recommend people come to see 'Peter and the Starcatcher' for a whole bunch of reasons. I think no matter what you like, you’re going to like this show," Mitterhoff said. “We all have it within us to really enjoy a great story, and I think at its heart 'Peter and the Starcatcher' is a wonderful story.”

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