The remarkable Broadway musical Finding Neverland will sadly play its last performance on August 21, but that still gives you a few weeks to try and see it this summer! I'm glad I recently had the chance to enjoy this show with my family, because it truly is a delight.
Finding Neverland tells the story of Scottish writer J. M. Barrie's inspiration for Peter Pan. A successful but now struggling playwright, he meets Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (portrayed by the angelic Laura Michelle Kelly) and her boys George, Jack, Michael, and of course, Peter. As Barrie begins to befriend Davies and her sons, he is moved to create the tale of the boy who won't grow up and the magical land where he lives.
Finding Neverland is based on the Oscar-winning 2004 film of the same name which starred Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, and Freddie Highmore. I have not seen that movie since it was released, but I do remember it being a sweet but also sad story. The musical takes that base and launches it up into the sky, to the stars beyond the blue.
One of my favorite numbers in the show was "Stronger," featuring a chest-baring Barrie (portrayed by the amazing Alfie Boe) along with Captain Hook, pirates, thunder, lightning, and just... whoah! Before you know it, the stage is transformed into a magnificent pirate ship, billowing sails and all. I remember mouthing "WOW" to my kids when that song was done.
Another enchanting moment in the show is how it portrays the death of one of the characters. It is a hauntingly beautiful moment, done simply with a floating scarf. It is one of the most memorable scenes I think I will ever see on a Broadway stage.
In this year of Hamilton, Finding Neverland did not get the recognition or the audience that it deserved. (A blow felt even deeper, perhaps, since the show is directly across the street from the Richard Rodgers Theatre aka The Room Where Hamilton Happens.) Finding Neverland is a great, fun show for families, even though it has some darker moments as the mother's health declines, as well as some insinuation of impropriety between Barrie and the boys. I hope that it will find a lot of success in touring and perhaps come back to Broadway in the future.
Finding Neverland is performed at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 West 46th Street, NYC. findingneverlandthemusical.com
Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm. You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia or @themommysreview.