August 1, 2013

Junior Civic Theatre goes all out for "Peter Pan"

Catch local theater's production of 'Peter Pan' this weekend

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s Peter Pan flying across the McHale Performing Arts Center stage.

Peter Pan, Cassia Scagnoli, and the Darling children, with the help of a rigging system, will fly this weekend in Logansport Junior Civic Theater’s production of Peter Pan, as a musical adaptation of the play by Sir James M. Barrie. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

JCT is open to children ages 4 up to a graduating senior.

Rehearsals for the production have taken longer because the practice it has taken to become comfortable with the rigging system, said.

”It’s a weird feeling,” Scanoli said of flying through the air as Peter Pan. “It’s kind of like zip lining, but not at all; you would feel weightless if you didn’t feel the harness. Trying to face the audience has been the hardest part.”

The play tells the story of Peter Pan, a boy who never wants to grow up, and his adventures on the island, Neverland, with Wendy Darling, Kayla Brandt, and her brothers; the fairy, Tinker Bell; the Lost Boys; Pirates; the Indian princess Tiger Lily, Elli Buchanan and Captain Hook, Luke Jackson. Peter Pan loses his shadow at the Darlings’ house when he is listening to bedtime stories and when Wendy re-attaches his shadow, he invites her to be the mother of his gang, The Lost Boys. Wendy and her brothers, John and Michael, Jacob Hoover and Sal Scagnoli, go along. They have many adventures along the way, including the kidnapping of The Lost Boys, Wendy and her brother; a run-in with a ticking crocodile and a battle with Captain Hook.

This performance will be unique because of the large cast, orchestra, set that is being rented from Lafayette Jeff High School and the flying, said Tony Kinney, director of the play.

”When it comes to flying, the first priority is safety and the second is to create an amazing scene,” Kinney said. “I can’t say enough about our flying riggers who trained and are working with the equipment. They have made it easier for me.”

His main goal for the actors is to create a world, Neverland in this case, on stage, Kinney said.

”All of those elements — the stage, orchestra, etc. — won’t be good if they aren’t believable,” Kinney said.

Kinney said the actors have had a large amount of professionalism and he has received the best suggestions from his actors. One he mentioned was Luke Jackson, who “brings so much of himself to each role.” He also mentioned Laura Cahalan, portraying Mrs. Darling, who is in the real world and “has to make the audience believe that it’s a home they’ll want to return to.”

For Luke Jackson, being the villain in JCT isn’t a new thing.

”Don’t get me wrong,” Jackson said. “I’m a nice person, but I love being mean.”

Jackson will be portraying a snarky Captain James Hook. As opening night approaches, several people involved are looking forward to seeing elements come together.

”I’m expecting that wow moment when Peter Pan first flies out in the nursery,” Kinney said. “I think people will find their breath catching.”

For Elli Buchanan, who is portraying Tiger Lily, her favorite part has been working with her grandmother, Pat, who is choreographer for the production, and her friends. Saturday night is usually her favorite performance because it seems to be the casts’ best.

Scagnoli, who has been in several JCT performances, said she is looking forward to the set, orchestra and the level of talent from actors.

”Why wouldn’t you want to come? It’s Peter Pan,” Scagnoli said. “We’ve never had something like this before. It’s so amazing we can have all this going.”

Those interested can pick up tickets at the door for $10 for students and $12 for adults.

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or

If you go: • WHAT: "Peter Pan" presented by Logansport Junior Civic Theater • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday • WHERE: McHale Performing Arts Center, 1 Berry Lane, Logansport • COST: Tickets are $8 for students and $10 for adults prior to the performance and $10 for students and $12 for adults at the door.