Theater: Matthew Morrison Finds A Hit In "Finding Neverland;" Peter Sarsgaard's Deadly "Hamlet"

April 16, 2015 2:49 AM

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I have high standards when it comes to Peter Pan for two reasons. First, the book by J.M. Barrie improves on his play and is a witty, heartbreaking masterpiece. You enjoy it as a child; you savor its bittersweet truths as an adult. If you haven't read it (or not since you were ten) and do so now, you're in for a treat. Second, one of my favorite theatrical experiences was the Mabou Mines adaptation called Peter and Wendy, which featured one actor interacting with puppets that captured the magic and wisdom of the book brilliantly. (At the same time, it made me appreciate the charm and unique appeal of puppetry like never before.) The Disney animated film? Thin stuff with cheap animation, mostly terrible songs and a dumbed-down approach to the story. The recent live TV event? Oy. So tread carefully when it comes to Peter Pan.

Despite a quietly charming performance by Johnny Depp, I wasn't a big fan of the feature film Finding Neverland, which tells the story of how Barrie was creatively inspired by a widow and her sons while helping them deal with tragedy. It was too tear-jerking for my tastes. But just as Barrie's book ...

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