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‘Peter Pan’ at camp

By Staff | Jun 27, 2018

The North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts’ summer camp presentation of “Peter Pan” wowed the crowd.

Parents and well-wishers came to the auditorium to see the production put together in just 18 days from auditions to the first public performance Thursday.

And the kids nailed it – amazing when you consider the first dress rehearsal was that morning for summer campers and they made some refinements to the script after that show.

“I guess they did all right. No, they were fantastic and blew it out of the park. I’m so proud of them,” said director Amy Massari of the first evening performance. “We were refining things today and we’ll work tomorrow to improve it even more.”

A cast of 70 youths performed in the 90-minute show. Some played multiple roles in the stage performance that featured elaborate dance numbers and wonderful vocal performances as the audience took a flight to Neverland.

Among the classic musical numbers were “You Can Fly” and “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).”

At the end of the production, after all the bows, the stars got together to dance to Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.”

“This was the first we’ve run through it without stops and it went well,” said Rachel DeOreo, who played Peter Pan. “It’s beautiful to see what comes out in the end after three weeks of hard work and dedication.”

“It went really good and I’m really proud of myself. I liked all the singing,” said Marissa Spurr, who played Wendy. “I’m surprised we did it. It’s such a short time and we get a lot done in one day. It felt good to do it.”

“It was fun, exciting and stressful, but we ended up pulling it off in the end. It is one of the most intense things I have ever done,” said Alex Leeds, who played Captain Hook and Mr. Darling, Wendy’s father. “My character plays with the audience so you make jokes and see how the audience reacts, so you change the character as you go along.”

The production also featured Allison Fishler as Tinkerbell, and Caisson and Canon Dobson as Michael and John, Wendy’s younger brothers.

But the question remained; how would Peter Pan and the kids fly? They didn’t have a device for that, so they used a green screen, laid stomach first on a green table and simulated flight, a video of which was shown on the wall on opposite sides of the stage.

North Fort Myers High School rented a flying system this past spring for its rendition of Mary Poppins. However, that took time for the cast and crew to learn, time this production didn’t have.

“We don’t have a flying system here, so we decided to make a movie so we can transition the scene and make things go a lot smoother,” DeOreo said. “We went into the newsroom and covered the table with green paper and pretended to fly.”

The program would not have been possible were it not for the parents who helped their kids in any way, from taking them to and from rehearsals to helping with their lines.

“We have a wonderful family that supports her and help to get her here on time. She’s been a little cranky and exhausted putting in the hard work, but she did a good job, so it was worth it,” said Kelly Johnson, DeOreo’s mom.