‘Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan’: Serendipity in flight

“Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan” comes to the Center for the Performing Arts in San Jose with music, lights, action, flying and all the hoopla of the Neverland classic.
At 59, she hasn’t lost her vim and vigor, and flies and flips with all the energy she had during her farewell performance in 2005. With this energetic offering, the dream of childhood transports the audience to another time and place.
Peter and the children fly without a security check or having to take off their shoes. The biggest threat is a guy with a hook and a bumbling assistant, and somehow it all works out in the end.
Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby returns in the title role she first played here in 1990 and again in 2000 and 2005. She carries the show with a surprising, more-than-adequate voice and a wonderful ability to make the flying believable and fun. “Neverland,” a song added to the original score by Camden and Green, is  handled with gentle melodic sensitivity. “I Gotta Crow” and “I Won’t Grow Up” is belted out with a voice not expected by anyone who has never seen Rigby in action. She has an excellent delivery with just the right roughness for Peter.
Rigby shines when she flies or is in some athletic moment, her Olympic training having held on with a velvet thread. The first act flying sequence with Peter and the children singing “I’m Flying” hits home and is one of many charming moments of the show.
Rigby’s flying is athletic and graceful; she flies bigger, higher and better than ever, thanks to new choreography by Paul Rubin. Her flight at the end of the last act over the audience is spectacular and when you get home you might find blue metallic fairy dust in your hair.
Patti Colombo’s choreography – based on original choreography by Jerome Robbins – is rambunctious and enjoyable.
The “Ugg-a-Wugg” number has been transformed into a full-fledged extravaganza with drums, wild dancing and just about everyone on stage beating out rhythms with drumsticks al la “Stomp.”
The design team for this production is amazing. They include Emmy winner John Iacovelli’s set design, Tom Ruzika lighting, colorful original costumes by Shigeru Yaji, musical direction by Bruce Barnes and everything pulled together with the fast moving direction of Glenn Casale. They should have it right by now: most have been with the production from its inception.
“Peter Pan” has much to offer: an energetic cast, a colorful fantasy and a very talented Cathy Rigby.
When Mary Martin (Peter Pan) and Cyril Ritchard (Hook) opened on Broadway in 1954, no one expected that almost 60 years later, Peter would still be flying and Tinkerbell would still be asking us to believe in fairies. It seems that everything in this world but Peter Pan has changed. A story so constant in its message – corny or whatever you want to read into it – must have something special to offer, especially to children who may be a little more than cynical when it comes to a flying boy and fairy dust. Hopefully they get caught up in the innocence of this silly, delightful tale, forget their computers for just a moment and enjoy a few hours of fantasy and plain, simple fun.
“A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody”
For a fun evening close to home, trot over to the Grange Hall in Gilroy and enjoy one of the Pintello Comedy Theatre offerings. “A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody” is running and is an enjoyable romp.
Director Marion Pintello moves a pleasing cast with detail and timing in this comedy melodrama that is sure to tickle the funny bone. Sets, lighting and sound are well delivered.
The Pintello Comedy Theatre is a family affair with members participating in just about every aspect of the production. Four productions a year are offered with love and affection.
An evening with the Pintello Comedy Theatre is a local winner, and if you are one of the few in the area who hasn’t participated in one of the productions, you’re missing an amusing evening. The cast seems to have as much fun as the audience, which makes the show more entertaining.

Where: Center For the Performing Arts, San Jose  
When: Tuesday through Nov. 25
Tickets: $20-$75
Details: 408-792-4111 or visit www.broadwaysanjose.com
Where: The Grange Hall, Gilroy
Through: Nov. 24
Tickets: $18  
Details: (408) 337-1599 or visit www.PintelloComedy.com

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