Rising Stars bring 'Peter Pan, Jr.' to life


If you ever need help reaching Neverland, the Riverdale Rising Stars know how to get there.

The cast of young local performers brought Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tinker Bell and the rest of J.M. Barrie’s beloved characters to life in Aug. 7 and 10  shows at The Riverdale Y.

While Director Angela Howell’s production mostly adhered to tradition, including casting a female as the title character, the Rising Stars made a few modifications to the children’s classic.

Instead of using a haphazard harness in the flying scenes, Ms. Howell opted for the actors to use Heelys, sneakers with wheels in their heels.

“I’m happy the flying we’ve done works, because it’s not the traditional method,” the director remarked.

The show followed the Riverdale Rising Stars’ tradition of letting each performer participate to the max. Everyone in Peter Pan, Jr. had a speaking role.

“No one feels like they’re being excluded,” said 11-year-old Eden Migdal, a Kinneret Day School student who played Wendy, one of the lead characters.

“Excited” was an understatement for Tiarra Towns, 10, when she discovered she would play the title role. 

“It was my favorite movie for four straight years,” said the St. Margaret’s of Cortona student. “The adventure and the action — everything is so cool.”

Tiara said the cast became close-knit through daily 90-minute-long practices following rigorous auditions.

Eden said she had initially hoped to be cast as Tiger Lily, a tribal princess, but was content to play Wendy instead.

She added that walking the plank under orders from Captain Hook was one of her favorite scenes.

“It gets a lot of surprise from the audience, and it’s pretty scary,” Eden said. “It was frightening at first, but they set it up so it’s very safe and comfortable.”

The crew also included 8-year-old Beth Levin as Tinkerbell, who helped bring the audience into a world where the days move faster, there are three moons and no one perishes. 

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