S. ABINGTON TWP. — Ahoy! Yonder lads ‘n lasses be hoistin’ th’ Jolly Roger ‘n readyin’ to set sail on an adventure ‘o Swashbucklin’ ‘n plank walkin.’ Th’ show be takin’ place at 1930 hours on th’ poop deck. So toss ye doubloons in th’ chest ‘n board th’ ship!
That’s pirate talk for “Clarks Summit University (CSU) students will present ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23, 24 and 25 on the main stage in the Phelps Student Center on campus. Tickets are $8 each and may be purchased by calling 570-585-9000 or online at ClarksSummitU.edu/events.”
Jonathan Strayer, director and designer, said this play was chosen as the university’s spring production for its reminiscence of childhood.
“We wanted something that was fun, lively and imaginative,” the Clarks Summit resident and CSU alumnus said.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” fits that bill.
A prequel to Peter Pan, it is written by Rick Elice and based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It was originally produced on Broadway, with music by Wayne Barker, who received a Tony Award nomination and Drama Desk Award for the work.
CSU alumnus Jeremy Kemmerer is the music director for the upcoming production. The Clarks Summit resident explained the piece is not a musical; rather, it is a play with music. Just as the props used in the play are “normal things children might find while playing outside,” the play’s music is “simple and organic.”
“The music supports the story,” he said.
This includes incidental music, sound affects, mood music and more, all performed by two musicians: CSU freshman James Partridge on percussion and Kemmerer on the piano.
Grace Doolittle is the stage manager, Abby Mappes is costume designer and Emma Finke is makeup designer. The production features the acting of a dozen cast members, each of whom takes on at least two roles.
“The use of imagination, the liveliness of their characters…It’s a lot of fun and they’re doing a great job with it,” Strayer said of the actors and actresses.
CSU senior Kassi Leonard, of Delton, Michigan will portray the character Molly, around whom the story is centered. This is the fourth time the communications–theater major has appeared in a play at CSU.
“Molly is very enthusiastic, extremely curious and she enjoys adventuring,” said the actress. “The biggest thing she wants is to be treated like an adult – she just wants to grow up and fulfill her dream.”
But the character isn’t quite there yet. Leonard said one thing she enjoys about this role is “her youthfulness.”
“Even though she wants to grow up, she’s still very young,” she said.
Mappes, a CSU senior and Clarks Summit resident, will also perform as Black Stash in what is to be her ninth show at the university.
The communications–theater major described her character as “a pompous villain.”
“He loves everything that has to do with villainy,” she said, adding Black Stash is out to find “that one hero” to make an enemy with and battle forever.
“He’s a man, which is interesting and fun,” she said, when asked what she enjoys about her part. “It’s just a wonderful villain role.”
Joel Gardoski, of Clarks Summit, a CSU senior majoring in communications–media, is playing a character of the opposite sex as well: Mrs. Bumbrake, Molly’s nanny. He described her as “pretty stiff and proper,” but added she “loosens up a little” later in the script.
This is Gardoski’s fourth theater role at CSU and first ever as a female character, which brings a new meaning to the term “dress rehearsal.”
“Being a woman is honestly a lot of fun,” he said, smoothing out the wrinkles in his dress.