Everyone dreams of flying. In 2007, Marcelo and Summer Dey Cacciagioni brought their dream to life and created ENCORE, a non-profit Children's Theatre Company that strives through arts education and mentorship programs to instruct children and young adults in all aspects of the performing arts, to teach life skills, and to instill values that translate to the world beyond the stage.
And what a success story they have created given the talent and camaraderie I saw onstage tonight with a cast of over 100 performers of all ages in "PETER PAN" at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, directed by Summer Dey Cacciagioni. The production was dedicated to ENCORE supporter Martha Garcia, well-known and much-loved South Bay theater "Mom" who recently left us and flew up past the second star to the right and went straight on 'til morning.
First I must commend the brilliant performance of Carly Linehan as Peter Pan. From the moment Linehan flew onstage as Peter, the audience was enthralled with her high-spirited portrayal of the boy who won't grow up. She made it look terribly easy to fly, sing, and throw fairy dust without a care in the world. It is a very demanding role and Linehan nailed it.
And then there was Patrick Hallahan as the villainous Captain Hook, instilling boos each time he walked onstage, much to his own delight. With so many children in the audience, Hallahan skillfully generated just the right amount of menace tinged with a great deal of humor, making him not too scary for the many children in the audience. Congrats to Cheryl Ortiz for his spot-on costume as well as all the others created for the large cast.
There were many other standouts in the cast including cute pixie Gabby Esquivel as Tinker Bell, Emma Parkinson as the ever-supportive Wendy, Logan Gould as top hat wearing older brother John, and Jack Ghekiere at teddy bear hugging brother Michael. All four of these young actors were having the time of their lives flying across the stage!
One of the musical highlights was the show-stopping drum beat enhanced "Ugh-a-Wug" number featuring Peter Pan (Linehan) the very talented Emily Hupp as Tiger Lily along with her band of Indians. Excellent choreography brilliantly executed by everyone.
Special congratulations to the youngest members of the cast playing Lost Boys and Indians, for their ability to stay in character and share the joy of performing with the audience, and to infant Lily-Rose Cacciagioni in her third ENCORE production appearing as Baby Peter in the lovely "Distant Melody."
While the set pieces and lovely painted show title scrim worked well for the show, the longer than necessary scene changes slowed the first act down, making it much longer than necessary. Loved the scene change in which Tinker Bell, in her laser-light form, flitted around the audience as the set was being changed. Definitely a crowd pleasing moment!
Find out more about ENCORE and purchase tickets to "PETER PAN" by visiting their website at www.encoreentertainers.org
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
February 1 & 2 at 7:30 / February 3 at 2pm
$15-$20 - Seniors/Children (12 & under)
$20-$25 - Adults