Adults and children alike will enjoy the magical, all new production of Peter Pan. Playing at the Fox Theatre August 7-12. This production stars Tony Award-nominee Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan, who answered a few questions for Best Self about this high-flying role:
You have been playing this role for so long – have you grown into the part or was it a perfect fit from the start?
This role has been a natural fit from the beginning I grew up a tomboy, athletic and adventuresome… my gymnastics was very helpful for “flying.” The part of the show that has evolved and grown is the effortlessness and spontaneity of just being a child. I don’t have to play at being a boy, the minute I fly into the nursery during the first scene, I’m no longer Cathy!
How do you stay in shape for the impressive acrobatics scenes?
When I’m at home and not on tour I work out about three times a week – weights, Pilates, stretching walking/running.
How does this Peter Pan production differ from your earlier versions?
The sets and costumes are all new and refurbished. We have added a sort of Cirque du sole “silk” number with Tiger Lily and the Indians at the opening of Neverland, a really magical and graceful dance. With the use of a single and double wire…my flying has become much more daring and athletic.
Is flying through the air so high and so fast as scary as it looks?
It’s not so scary for me -I trust my flyers, Paul Rubin and Jimmy Little -we’ve been doing this for many many years. Their participation and involvement is similar to a perfect partner in figure skating or cheerleading. We have to feel and anticipate each other’s energy and timing. When the flying is as difficult and exact as landing on a 4 inch balance beam, trust and focus is of utmost importance.
Peter Pan has been around for a long time – how do you take into account all of these versions when you take on the role of Peter Pan?
One of the things we have tried to do over the years is to honor Barrie’s original intentions…that the story be told with honesty and earnestness, that Neverland is a magical beautiful adventuresome island where children fly and explore.
It’s also a place of danger and mystery. Many people I talk with after the show tell me of their experience both as a child and as an adult as children they loved the flying and dancing, the sword fighting and of course all the special effects. the adults tend to remember a time when they were (like Peter) adventuresome, spontaneous, hopeful, and joyous. They watch their children and grandchildren as they experience this story, many times they tear up as they tell me their own experiences. It’s a bittersweet experience about growing up and getting older. Many times they say…. ‘I felt young again!’