Get ready to peek into the life of the man who created Peter Pan–and no, Bostonians, we’re not talking about the local bus line.
Through spritely tunes and a troupe of superbly talented actors, “Finding Neverland” depicts the story of Scottish writer J.M. Barrie and his close ties to the Llewelyn Davies family that inspired the creation of the Peter Pan character. Make sure to grab tickets soon, as unlike Neverland, this musical will not be around forever. Showings in the Hub will only last from Aug. 8 through 20 at the Boston Opera House.
“Boston audiences are really smart, and they always love a hometown girl,” says Lynnfield native and lead actress Christine Dwyer. She, alongside her “Wicked” acting partner Billy Harrigan Tighe as J.M. Barrie, plays Sylvia Llewelyn Davies.
“Sylvia is unlike other characters I’ve played before, as she’s someone who’s existed in real life,” says Dwyer. A recently widowed woman who decides to break 20th century social norms by not remarrying, Sylvia represents a bit of female resistance to Dwyer and “even though she’s a soprano and wears pink, I’ve come to realize she’s a strong renaissance woman.”
Another new element for Dwyer in this production is working alongside a set of rotating child actors who play Sylvia’s sons Michael, Jack, George and Peter.
“We travel with six boys and four are on stage each night, so I can have a completely different group of sons from the matinee to the evening show,” explains Dwyer. “They’re on stage playing around and having fun, which allows me to get out of my head and be less anxious about acting.”
This touring production, complete with a band for sonorous live music, has made many changes from the original Broadway production, which premiered in 2015. Director Diane Paulus added several songs and scenes near the start and end of the musical, which was intended to better serve the overall continuity of the plot.
“It feels like we are building our own show, which is cool about this production,” adds Dwyer.
For the actress and the seven other native Bostonian cast members, next week’s shows represent a grand homecoming.
“At it’s core, it’s a really sweet story about connection and friendship,” says Dwyer. “We’ve got spectacles, dance shows, kids and dogs. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone.”
If you go:
Aug. 8-20, Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston, $40+, findingneverlandthemusical.com