Actor-aerialist Cathy Rigby swears she's hanging up her flying harness once she wraps up this touring revival of the 1954 musical based on James M. Barrie's classic fairy tale. I hope she changes her mind. Rigby's perfect Peter Pan is a true wild child--heroic and bratty, loving and self-absorbed, radiating bravado and vulnerability in equal measure. Never mind that Rigby's a grandma in her 50s: she defines the role of the "wonderful boy" who won't grow up, preferring to rule over a fantasy world of fairies, pirates, mermaids, and Indians. Rigby's acrobatics aren't confined to the air; she leaps and bounds about the stage, somersaulting and cartwheeling as she belts out the Moose Charlap-Carolyn Leigh-Jule Styne-Betty Comden-Adolph Green score, with its enduring hits "I Gotta Crow" and "I Won't Grow Up." Arriving in the wake of the Oscar-nominated Barrie biopic Finding Neverland, this richly designed production costars Broadway veteran Howard McGillin (last seen here in the Goodman's ill-fated Sondheim musical Bounce) as a ripe comic-opera Captain Hook. The sprawling theater robs Glenn Casale's storybook staging of some of its focus, and the acoustics occasionally make the actors sound as if their voices were dubbed. But when Rigby soars over the audience's heads, sprinkling fairy dust and flashing her ebullient grin, the energy is irresistible. Thu 2/10, 7:30 PM, Fri 2/11, 8 PM, Sat 2/12, 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2/13, 1 and 6:30 PM. Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, 312-902-1400. $25.50-$75.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Craig Schwartz.