The Boston Theater Critics Association celebrated excellence in theater at the 31st Annual Elliot Norton Awards Monday night at the Paramount Theater. Named for eminent theater critic Elliot Norton, the “Norties” honor actors, directors, producers and designers for outstanding work throughout the 2012-13 season.
Simon Stephens’ tale of teen angst glosses over the expected topics that challeneg 17-year-olds — sex, drugs and coming of age challenges — instead delving headfirst into a seething cauldron of adolescent rage that, sadly, begets violence. We’ve seen these characters before. Think “The Breakfast Club,” but replace Molly Ringwald and company with a group of affluent British teens grappling with issues that run the gamut from bullying, humiliation, and burning to getting into Oxford. Then you’ll have Zeitgeist Stage’s “Punk Rock.”
There are things that everyone knows about Mike Tyson. The weird stuff. The frightening stuff. The flat-out insane stuff. The stuff of legends. Holyfield’s ear. Years of domestic strife. Bouts of volatility and violence (an occupational hazard, perhaps).That face tattoo. But there’s also other stuff. Like an inexplicable fondness for pigeons, the most common bird in the aviary hierarchy. You’d have guessed maybe peacocks. Or bald freaking eagles. But no, Iron Mike loves pigeons. He also loves theater. All kinds of theater.
If your eyes roll at the thought of a 60-year-old, two-time Olympic gymnast playing Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up, in a mammoth, Broadway-style musical you wouldn’t be alone. But don’t let your cynicism (or mine) keep you from enjoying this magical theatrical experience.
The minute Cathy Rigby’s Peter Pan flies into the open windows of the Darling family home, it’s clear this is no run-of-the-mill adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale. Rigby, the first American woman to win a medal in World Gymnastics competition, still flips, floats and tumbles like a teen. She also sings like a Tony-nominated musical theater vet while maintaining the tough, yet vulnerable demeanor of a young boy.