Michael On...

Spoiler alert! I am a bona fide Peter Pan fanatic. Who doesn’t want to find eternal childhood? Finding Neverland, now onstage at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, is a musical adaptation of the 2004 film about J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. Highlighting the backstory of Barrie’s classically beloved play-cum-novel, this show is a crowd- pleaser from beginning to end—full of laughter,tears and rousing musical numbers.

With an infectious original score by English pop musicians Eliot Kennedy and Gary Barlow, the musical has been deftly directed with imagination and flair by the Tony Award-winning Diane Paulus. Starring as Barrie is the magically talented Matthew Morrison, who truly owns the stage and is such a pleasureto have back on Broadway.

Kelsey Grammar, returning to Broadway after his acclaimed performance in the revival of La Cage aux Folles, plays both Charles Frohman, Barrie’s powerful American producer, and Captain Hook, the character he ultimately inspired. Kelsey has perfect timing in both roles and is a joy to watch. The super talented Laura Michelle Kelly, who was spectacular as Mary Poppins on the West End and on Broadway, is Barrie’s new love, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and the mother of the children who become the inspiration for the Lost Boys. The large cast is uniformly strong, but a special call-out has to go to the young talents who play the real-life Peter and his brothers. These boys capture youthful exuberance perfectly.

The story, although based on a children’s tale, talks about life’s journey—the ups and downs, the creative dry spells, loss and love—making this a show for all ages.

Mega-producer Harvey Weinstein, after years of triumph in film and television, conquers new territory with this production, his first as lead producer. The dramatic sets from Scott Pask take us everywhere from Kensington Gardens to backstage at a West End theater to the children’s nursery to Barrie’s elegant London townhouse, all with great aplomb. There’s a fabulous bit of stage magic in the second act with great air sculpture and special effects that you’ll remember for years to come. New original musical theater is so rare that it makes this ambitious and exciting production a true must-see.


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