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WCSU to present ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’- a prequel to ‘Peter Pan’

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(l-r): Alicia Napolitano, Jessica Schwartz and Howard Hendrix Powell in a scene from “Peter and the Starcatcher”

DANBURY, CONN. —  Western Connecticut State University will stage “Peter and the Starcatcher” this weekend in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The WCSU Department of Theatre Arts production, directed by professor and chair of the Theatre Arts department Pam McDaniel, will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21; with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, 2018.

“Peter and the Starcatcher” is based on the 2004 novel “Peter and the Starcatchers” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice and serves as a prequel to J. M. Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy” (“Peter Pan”). The play provides a humorous backstory for the beloved character of Peter Pan and his arch nemesis Captain Hook. In opening, audiences will be met by an orphaned child on the high seas named Boy. His sad and lonely world is turned upside down when he meets Molly ­­­— the daughter of famous Starcatcher Lord Astor. She is on a mission to save the world and protect a treasure trunk filled with magical star stuff from getting into the evil hands of Black Stache. As they travel aboard the Neverland ship, Molly and Boy learn about love and friendship, and forge an unbreakable bond.

The cast features Alicia Napolitano, of Woodbury, in the role of Boy; Jessica Schwartz, of Brookfield, as Molly; Howard Hendrix Powell, of West Haven, as Black Stache; Tyler Gallaher, of Wappingers Falls, New York, as Aster; Dominick Ventrella, of Ridgefield, as Smee; Jeffery Jannitto, of Hamden, as Alf; Katrina Karl, of Bethel, as Mrs. Bumbrake; Ryan Rappaport, of Orange, as Prentiss; Alexander Niatopsky, of Wolcott, as Ted; Jake Capelli, of West Haven, as Captain Robert Falcon Scott; Nick Raines, of New Milford, as Bill Slank; Jason Keane, of Trumbull, as Grempkin; Topher Wallace, of Naugatuck, as Fighting Prawn; Tony Harkin, of New Milford, as Hawking Clam; Christina Branfuhr, of Northford, as Teacher; Shane Manley, of Stonington, as Mack; Zack Federici, of Rocky Hill, as Sanchez; and Dina DiMarco, of Wethersfield, as Pianist.

Narrators for the cast are Dina DiMarco; Joseph Caruso, of Southbridge, Massachusetts; Celina Kestecher, of Middletown; Annaleigh Lester, of Ballston Lake, New York; Kevin H. McNulty, of New Milford; Topher Wallace, of Naugatuck; and Larry Weatherspoon, of Buffalo, New York.

Mermaids for the cast are Jake Capelli, Joseph Caruso, Tony Harkin, Jason Keane, Shane Manley, Howard Hendrix Powell, Nick Raines, Dominick Ventrella and Larry Weatherspoon.

Mollusks for the cast are Jake Capelli, Zack Federici, Jason Keane, Shane Manley and Nick Raines.

Puppeteers are Christina Branfuhr and Tyler Gallaher.

Understudies are Shea Coughlin, of Sherman, as Molly; Zane Bendici, of Shelton, as Black Stache/Slank; and Tony Harkin, as Boy/Prentiss/Ted.

The crew includes McDaniel as director/producer, TJ Swetz as music director/assistant director, Bailey Nickerson as choreographer, Elizabeth Popiel as set designer, Scott Cally as lighting designer, Irene V. Hatch as costume designer, Stef Carr as sound designer, Anthony DePoto as dialect coach, David Jonikas as stage manager and Thomas Swetz as technical director.

McDaniel said, “Set your sails for excitement and magic that you’ll never forget. ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ is a story filled with heart, humor and harrowing adventures that follow the boy who never grew up, his fearsome pirate foe and a cast of colorful characters who join in on the journey.”

Tickets are available online or in person with cash only at the Visual and Performing Arts Center box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Wednesday through Friday.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.