HARRISBURG -- Harrisburg student actors literally will fly across the stage on their way to Neverland at Southeastern Illinois College's theater this weekend, director Hannah Drake says.
Harrisburg High School will present the beloved J.M. Barrie classic "Peter Pan" at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at SIC's George T. Dennis Theatre at the college's Visual and Performing Arts Center.
Peter Pan has captured the imagination of children since the story's first publication, in no small part to the idea of pixie dust granting a child the ability to fly. Thanks to professional rigging equipment, the flying scenes in the musical can be recreated, Drake said.
"We had a company called Vertigo who provided the stage rigging to make it possible for the characters to fly," Drake said. "They came to SIC for three days to set up the flying rigging and train us how to fly."
In technical rehearsal Monday night at the theater, the talented ensemble cast and sprawling, complex set hinted at an elaborate stage experience. The production's cast is led by Jack Gulley, who plays Peter Pan; Chloe Thomas, Wendy; Landon Gates, John; Luke Winkleman, Michael; Alex McRoy, Captain Hook; and Braden Cummins, Smee. Drake said the cast has 45 members total.
"It's definitely a big show, but we're getting used to big shows," she said. "For this one, the technical elements and the flying harnesses were one more thing to work with that made it a challenge."
Drake praised the cast and crew for their many hours spent bringing the show to life.
"Our kids worked really hard on this. I don't think anyone will be disappointed," she said.
She said tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. They are available by calling Drake at HHS (618) 253-7637 x2169. In addition, tickets -- if still available -- can be purchased one hour prior to each show's opening.