The reason for the latter change was pragmatic, down to the results of a casting call. “When we were presented with the performers who auditioned, it became apparent that there should be no gender line,” said Laura Hodge, executive artistic director and founder of SDCAP, who also wrote the script. “This is not a love story as other interpretations have shown, but a rite of passage. “[In this recasting] Peter Pan is a symbol of the struggle Wendy is experiencing with adolescence.”
The young cast for “Peter Pan Rebooted” includes Cassidy Esquivel (Peter Pan), Gaby Hawkins (Wendy), Tahlia Burnett (Tinkerbell), and Isabel Mattick (Captain Hook) and Conner Llanes (Smee). Meanwhile, backstage production is done by a staff of three dozen
“Peter Pan Rebooted” is SDCAP's eighth production since 2014, and is the fourth "Rebooted" show to date. “Cinderella was German expressionism vs Bollywood, Alice was carny, and Aladdin was set in a Dystopian future,” Hodge said. “We try to insert creative and artistic ideas, all while teaching the students /cast about these diverse theatrical and artistic styles.
“These are updated modern retellings of old tales with new twists. With fewer people reading these days, there is a gap in the understanding of a lot of fairy tales,” she continued. “Instead of the book version, most children only know about the movie version, and relate to the songs in those. We are trying to help everyone remember that before the movie there was the book!”
Hodge notes that changing background elements in story, lends itself to further creative possibilities. “With ‘Peter Pan Rebooted,’ as in our other ‘Rebooted’ productions, we are striving to tell the original story in an interesting and colorful way,” she said. “For instance, we were struggling to find a crocodile costume for this show. In the middle of the night, I figured it out. I realized that we don't need a cartoon character crocodile. In the steampunk theme, the crocodile is an assassin after Captain Hook, with top hat and green velvet jacket.”
Another notable change is the use of pop hits as a soundtrack, eschewing the songs associated with the film version of the character for pre-recorded tracks such as “Take On Me” by Aha and “Sweet Escape” by Gwen Stefani, with a live performance of “Lost Boy” by Ruth B, from the plays musical director, Tammy Milner.
“This is a very family-friendly show with a script and music from an era when we as parents also believed that we were ‘Forever Young,’ which is a theme song. Hit songs from the '80s, '90s and current keep the pulse of the show driving the plot.”
This is SDCAP’s first event at the OB Playhouse. “We love the location right in the main business district of OB and the ambience of the space,” Hodge said. “We think that OB has a dedicated community that supports not only the neighborhood but the integrity of arts as culture and integral to life.”
After months of preparations, Hodge is happy to see “Peter Pan Rebooted” hit the stage. She feels it’s important for children to be involved in the arts like this, whether being in the production or seeing it.
“It's been said many times, children are our future,” she mused. “Besides creating bonds and social skills, children involved in the performing arts, express themselves in ways that help them evolve emotionally, socially, and teaches them skills that help them for the rest of their lives.”
“Peter Pan Rebooted”: Thursday, Aug. 16-17 (8 p.m.) and Aug. 18 (2 p.m.), at The OB Playhouse, 4944 Newport Ave. All ages. sdcreativeartsproject.jugglemail.com/Store_Performances.