For Paul Allen, getting to play the role of Captain Hook is a dream that, thanks to Arts in Motion Theater Company, has come true.
“I've loved the mythos of Peter Pan from a young age,” Allen said “My favorite movie of all time is ‘Hook’ and, as a kid, I watched it so much that I wore out my VHS copy.”
Arts in Motion’s production of “Peter Pan: The Musical” opens Friday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center at Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Maine and is playing again at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Jan. 7 and at 7 p.m. Jan. 13, 20 and 21.
The production, which was originally scheduled to be put on in November, has been a long gestating labor of love.
“The rehearsal process has been crazy,” Allen said. “We have a humongous cast, which is something I have never experienced before. ‘Peter Pan’ is a monumental show, and it has been kind of daunting at times. That being said, [director] Glenn [Noble] is so sure of his vision, and believes in us and this material so much that it's hard not to believe in it as well.”
Musical director Mary Bastoni-Rebmann also notes that the production, despite some hardships, has been a positive experience.
“Despite some setbacks, the cast has been dedicated and a joy to watch,” Bastoni-Rebmann said. “The cast is made up of 65 community children and adults and they seem to have thoroughly enjoyed being lost boys, Indians and pirates. It is great to see the local children become so involved in this process and project.”
The lead roles are played by adults with Allen playing across from two different Peters, Natasha Repass and Taylor Hill, who trade off playing the role between performances.
“The adult leads have done a great job embracing their characters,” Bastoni-Rebmann.
Allen has enjoyed playing against Hill for the second time, having previously worked with her on Arts in Motion’s production of “Rent.”
“Taylor and I have great stage chemistry,” Allen said. “We found that out when playing opposite of each other in ‘Rent.’ It has been weird going from lovers to sworn enemies, but it's a fun change of pace.”
But Allen has been equally pleased working with Repass as well.
“Natasha is great,” Allen said. “She's so passionate about the role of Peter, and you can definitely see that in her performance.”
Of his own performance, Allen is harder on himself because he wants to live up to the expectations of a character he loves so much.
“It's so iconic that I'm rough on myself at times,” Allen said. “I'm trying to live up to all the actors who have played him before and live up to the signature Captain Hook that is in everyone's mind. It's a real balancing act between disgustingly evil and effeminately funny.”
Tickets are $12 or $40 for a family four pack and may be purchased online at www.fryeburgacademy.org, at the door or reserved by calling the box office at (207) 935-9232. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.