Princeton Variety Theater, sponsored by the Arts Council of Princeton, presents the seventh-annual community play, “Peter Pan at the Princeton Public Pool — Pirates, Pandemonium, and Panto.” The show runs on Saturday, March 5, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 6, at 4 p.m. at the Stuart Little Theater, Stuart Country Day School in Princeton. The script, written by Zoe Brookes, Todd Reichart, Tom Regan, and Per Kreipke features local businesses, local stories, jokes for all ages, and surprises. Tickets are $20.
Original music was written and arranged by Michael Jacobsen of Plainsboro, who also directs the band that plays for the performances. Jacobsen has been teaching piano, playing professionally, and directing music programs in the Plainsboro area for the past 22 years. He currently serves on the piano faculty of the Westminster Conservatory in Princeton and maintains a private studio in Plainsboro. The music director of the Princeton Variety Theater, he has written and arranged much of the music featured in the group’s panto productions.
Eileen Azzaro of West Windsor is playing Mrs. Darling, a helicopter parent obsessed with rules. Her daughter, Sophia, is portraying the Pirate Protege. When a local tycoon threatens to convert the pool to AstroTurf, the whole town turns out to keep him at bay. On the way, Mrs. Darling learns the true meaning of magic when she turns the family pet into a giant crocodile.
Gretchen Zimmer of West Windsor portrays the Old Timekeeper. This is her third year working with Princeton Variety Theater and her third British pantomime. In “Jack and the Beanstalk” Zimmer appeared in a cow costume and worked backstage. In “Cinderella” she appeared as the fairy godmother character. This year she is one of seven timekeepers for the swim meet that takes place at the Princeton Community Pool.
“British Pantomimes are a lot of fun for the cast and also the audience, because there is a lot of audience participation,” says Zimmer. “For example, the kids are encouraged to call out if they see the villain sneaking up behind the hero. The panto localizes the story plot, so it revolves around events and places in the local community. There is a lot of music, colorful costumes, and crazy characters.”
Swashbuckling Peter Pan shows up whenever a child says “Let’s Pretend,” so have some fun and feel free to boo, hiss, and laugh.
Peter Pan at the Princeton Public Pool: Pirates, Pandemonium, and Panto, Arts Council of Princeton, Stuart School, 1200 Stuart Road, Princeton. $20. 609-924-8777. www.artscouncilofprinceton.org.