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Alvin High actors have hoot with ‘Starcatcher’

September 25, 2018

In the prologue to “Peter and the Starcatcher,” playing Oct. 4-7 at Alvin High School, the actors invite audience members to use their imaginations to help them tell the backstory of characters who would become famous in J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan.”

Then, senior Carson Parkinson snaps his fingers and the curtain rises to reveal a few planks and ropes. Those sparse props serve as three dozen locations throughout the vast British Empire.

“You can’t build 36 sets,” said director Drake Simpson, “but the audience can fill in the gaps as we take this journey with jungle tyrants, unlikely heroes and unwilling comrades.”

The “play with music” features two big production numbers, Simpson said. They are “Swim On” at the end of Act I, and “Mermaid Outta Me” in Act II, when fish are transformed into comical, singing mermaids.

“They are costumed in ‘found material,’” Simpson said.

The show’s pianist, Sarah Spencer, coached the students on vocals. Spencer teaches piano and music literature at San Jacinto College. She is married to Joseph Rawley, the choir director at G.W. Harby Junior High School in Alvin ISD.

As Black Stache, a flamboyant and villainous pirate, Parkinson heads a cast of two dozen AHS thespians in the presentation by the school’s theater arts department and the Yellowjacket Theatre Company.

Rachel Hohman, a junior, plays Molly, with Noah Bryant in the title role of an orphan who comes to be “the boy who would not grow up,” or Peter Pan.

Other cast members portray lords, captains, mothers, orphans, sailors, pirates and tropical kings.

They include: Grace Koenig, Madelyn Weiskopf-Davilla, Eric Loy, Taylor Tywater, Laine Helpenstill and Dominic Radogna.

Others in the cast are: Brock Hearn, Zoey Gurka, Dulce Maxwell, Rebecca Espinosa, Damon Bopho, Lauren Collins, Emily Thornton, Reese Tisdale and Tristyn Williams.

In addition, Audrey Taylor, Helen Hendricks, Misti Arnold, Jaycie Wilkerson. Lauren Alexander, Taylor Moore, Grace White and Frist Carter portray pirates and mollusks.

“The kids are loving it,” said Simpson. “It is so incredibly fun and silly, but at times, really poignant.”

“Peter and the Starcatcher,” which Rick Elise adapted from a 2004 novel, opened on Broadway in 2012, winning five Tony Awards that honored Christian Borle’s performance as Black Stache and the sound, lighting, costume and scenic design of a play.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net

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