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PHOTOS: Hook, Pan, Stars and More In Finding Neverland (Hennepin Theatre Trust)

The cast of Finding Neverland take flight. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie had a flair for the dramatic. After his Peter Pan made London’s Kensington Gardens famous, Barrie decided to make the fictional resident an actual resident of this urban park. He secretly had a bronze statue of Peter Pan created by Sir George Frampton, then snuck it into Kensington Gardens by night for an exuberant public to discover. By the time Barrie confessed to the prank, public opinion was firmly on the side of keeping the statue – and so it remains in Kensington Gardens to this day.

Finding Neverland, which opens at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis next week, delves into the origins of Peter Pan by way of Barrie’s life. Like Amadeus, it is not, strictly speaking, a historical account; it combines many actual details with some glosses, elisions, and speculations. In the musical, the boundaries between Barrie’s outer world and inner psychology blur, letting characters take explicit shape.

Here’s a look at the musical Finding Neverland and the real-life people who inspired Neverland:

J.M. Barrie (dressed as Captain Hook) wrestles with Michael Llewyn Davis (dressed as Peter Pan) in 1906, two years after Peter Pan’s stage premiere in Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.
Billy Harrigan Tighe (J.M. Barrie) and John Davidson (Captain Hook) have a heart-to-hook discussion in Finding Neverland. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
A much older J.M. Barrie with a cast of students at the Dumfries Academy, which he attended as a teenager. One of Barrie’s favorite games while attending the Academy was playing pirates. After being honored by the town, Barrie noted in his remarks, “When shades of night began to fall, certain young mathematicians shed their triangles, crept up walls and down trees, and became pirates in a sort of Odyssey that was long afterwards to become the play of Peter Pan.”
The younger cast of Finding Neverland at play. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
An illustration by Arthur Rackham for Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, an excerpt from the collection The Little White Bird. The character Peter Pan first appeared in The Little White Bird.
Christine Dwyer as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, the mother of the children who inspired the Peter Pan stories, in Finding Neverland. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
A photo of the real-life Sylvia Llewelyn Davies with one of her children.
The cast of Finding Neverland during the Act I finale “Stronger”. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
A program from the stage premiere of Peter Pan in 1904.
The cast of Finding Neverland. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Finding Neverland opens at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis on Oct. 31 and plays through Nov. 5.

Twin Cities Arts Reader

The Twin Cities Arts Reader is an arts and lifestyles magazine whose coverage examines arts and selected activities in the state of Minnesota and across the country. It provides Minnesota’s largest source of in-depth, critical theatre coverage, and reaches more than 275,000 readers per year.

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