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Peter & Wendy casts finding chemistry

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Captain Hook and his pirates take over the stage to discuss how they will capture Peter Pan and his Lost Boys during a recent Somerset High School cast B play rehearsal of "Peter Pan & Wendy." Pictured are (from left) Anya Swanson, Gen Garcia, Erica Hoyt, Liv Milles and Lola Belisle. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 5
Mr. and Mrs. Darling talk with their children before going out for the evening during a recent cast B rehearsal for the Somerset High School's spring play "Peter Pan & Wendy." Pictured are (from left) Caleb Kaczmarek, Amy Lippman, Brycen Chladek, Jacqueline Martell, Hannah Waskosky and Tristen Gow. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 5
Captain Hook and his pirates lie in wait for their unsuspecting guests as they attempt to capture the Lost Boys. Pictured are (from left) Phoebe Dunleap, Moriah Everson, Ethan Midbrod, Kaylee Erickson and Jaden Skwarek. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 5
The Lost Boys welcome Peter Pan back from his excursion during a recent cast A rehearsal of the Somerset High School's production of "Peter Pan & Wendy." Pictured are (from left) Sally Bodlovik, Autumn Wood, Mara Erickson (partially hidden), Sophie Dunleap, Kenzie Eickhoff, Kate Bartig, Alexis Mevisson, Erika Brown, Laura McVeigh, Katie Schroeder and Kendra Westphal. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 5

Although the Somerset High School Drama Department will once again have two casts for its upcoming performances of "Peter & Wendy," the students feel like each cast's chemistry has been the best they have seen.

"I feel like this cast is a really good fit and I think this is the most solid I have felt about a play or musical while I've been at school," said senior Blaine Cavett, who plays Peter Pan in cast B. "They work really hard and they all have put in a lot of effort into it."

The drama department will put on a series of performances from Friday, March 23, through Sunday, March 25, in the high school multipurpose room. Each cast will perform twice, with cast A performing Friday, March 23, at 7 p.m. and Saturday March 24, at 1 p.m.; while cast B will perform Saturday, March 24, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 25, at 1 p.m.

"We had been wanting to do a fun, Disney play like Peter Pan for a couple years now, so it is exciting that we finally got to do it," said senior Jacqueline Martell, who plays Nanna the dog, Tiger Lily and Jane in cast B. "And it is fun to be playing a few different roles and get to do different stuff throughout the play."

For many of the students following such an intense and classic musical like "Fiddler on the Roof" — which the drama department put on in the fall — with a more whimsical and fun play like "Peter & Wendy" was a much appreciated choice.

"It is really neat to do this play after having done something so intense and well known as Fiddler. It is nice to go out as a senior doing something a little simpler. There isn't as much pressure in doing this play as there was to be in Fiddler, which is such a big musical and a Broadway classic," said Sophie Dunleap, who is playing John Darling in cast A.

With the play still a week out, the casts feel like they are in a good spot, even with spring break falling the week before opening night.

"I feel we are in a good place and that we just need to polish something and we will be ready," said senior Kollen Turner, who plays playing Cookson in one cast and Jukes in the second cast.

One of the biggest challenges, according to the students, has been all of the sets the play calls for.

"The sets and all the whimsical things we are supposed to have for this play have been a real challenge," said senior Sally Bodlovick, who plays Wendy in cast A. "There is flying we get to illustrate. There are a lot of really intense scene changes."

This year's play features 14 seniors who have been part of the drama department for many years and who will miss being part of such a tight knit group when they graduate this spring. There are a total of 49 student actors in the two casts, with an additional four students as part of the department's technical team.

"We have a great group of seniors and it will be sad to leave. But there are always kids in place to take over and have a lot of talent," said senior Zeb Rivard, who plays the crocodile in both plays. "I think as a whole, we have a lot of good leadership throughout the whole cast and department. Through all of the work we did on Fiddler, the group figured out how to work even better together."

An interesting aspect of having two casts is that, in most cases, different students will portray the same characters which means that each casts performances will be unique.

"I'm looking forward to the stark contrast between the two casts, since the guy who is playing Mr. Darling in the other cast plays him much differently than I do," said senior Tristen Gow, who plays Mr. Darling in cast B.

For those interested in coming to see "Peter & Wendy," senior Amy Lippman, who plays Wendy in cast B, had this advice to share:

"I think that this is going to be the most fun play that we have put on since I've been here. I think the audience will be super engaged in it since there are moments where people can get involved. And I think the mystical stuff that is going on will really pull in a lot of children, but there are a lot of themes — like being a mother — that adults will like as well," Lippman said. "I think, even though most people are pretty familiar with Peter Pan, that anyone who sees our take on it will be really happy they did."

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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