Peter and the Starcatcher: A Grand, Gay Romp

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Peter and the Starcatcher will be at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia until May 1.

Based upon the books written by J. M. Barrie, and the satirical book later written by comedian Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and published in 2004 by Hyperion (a subsidiary of The Disney Company), Peter and the Starcatcher is the prequel to the Peter Pan stories set during the reign of Quezen Victoria. In other words, how an orphan boy became the fabulous fairy known to this day.

The play was written by Rick Elice, famous for Jersey Boys and The Addams Family, and as the long-time spouse of the late actor Roger Rees. An episode of television’s Theatre Talk features both men as they address their thirty years together.



With such a backstory, why would anyone ever doubt the fabulousness of Peter and the Starcatcher?  This production features twelve burly men and a young woman who defines the word “moxie.” She could give Julie Andrews a run for the money in her stiff-upper-lip Britishness. On this night, the understudy, Elizabeth Frawley, assumed the role of Molly Aster. From all observation, we think the audience saw the beginning of a great theatre career.


Complementing her was Peter, played by a stunningly lithe Brandon O’Rourke. In addition to authentic acting and an easy manner, Mr. O’Rourke possessed a grand head of hair. All the actors were excellent in their many roles.

Another true standout was Ian Merrill Peakes as the Black Stache, the pirate captain who embodied all that is dastardly, queeny, and evil. Mr. Merrill Peakes oozed extravagance, fabulousness, and high camp: exactly what this flamboyant role requires. One line from the play will give you an idea of the racy dialogue and truly awful puns that run amok: Black Stache: “What name do the pirates call me?” Smee: “Nancy?” Black Stache: “No! The other name!”

Todd Edward Ivins created a set evoking a grand sailing craft, with towering masts worthy of Noah’s Ark, or the innards of the Leviathan which swallowed Jonah. Costumes by Mary Folino ingeniously resembled those which children raiding the attic might throw together for their make-believe adventures. Lighting and Sound design were ably created by J. Dominic Chacon and Christopher Colucci. Veteran Bill Van Horn directed the mayhem with aplomb.

Peter and the Starcatcher is the perfect play to bring all but the youngest children to see, not to mention anyone and everyone who enjoys tart rejoinder, high camp, and an extravagant good time.

For more information (and a ripping-good study guide for school children) visit

Read Related Posts...