Theater Info for the Washington DC region

McLean High School The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan

By • Dec 4th, 2010 • Category: Cappies
The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan by Phillip C. Klapperich
McLean High School
McLean High School, McLean, VA
Through December 4th
2:00, with one intermission
Attended December 2nd, 2010

Thursday evening Laura and I attended a “red carpet” performance of McLean High School’s The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan. Basically, before their opening night performance we had the opportunity to meet the cast and crew of the show. The people we met were all extremely excited that their show was about to open. I personally can’t imagine meeting lots of people just before going on stage. Aah, the power of youth.

This isn’t a review of the production, just some of our thoughts about it. The role of Peter Pan was split into two roles, Peter and his shadow. Pan’s lines were split between the two gentlemen. They mimicked each other’s blocking, although occasionally they “split” from each other to interact with other characters independently. The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan introduces a narrator, the Doctor, a psychologist. The Doctor character was interesting at first, but became a bit heavy-handed as Pan appeared in his office as a patient.

The show’s basic plot is similar to Disney’s Peter Pan, and to the staged musical. But it differes in several spots significantly, overall making The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan a much darker show. That darkness required the cast to evoke a wide range of emotions, which was a stretch at times.

The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan runs through this evening, at 2 PM and 7:30 PM at McLean High School in McLean, Virginia. The show is double cast with a red cast and green cast (in honor of the Christmas season). The run time was two hours with one fifteen minute intermission. If you are looking to see a darker side of Peter Pan, this show is for you.

Director’s Notes

The story of Peter Pan has enchanted me since I was a child. I’m excited to bring Phillip Klapperich’s The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan to the stage because I think that it gives a fresh perspective on a classic tale that our audience can relate to on many levels. I’ve envisioned this how to be what the story of Peter Pan would look like in 2010. I’ve tried to capture the wonder and magic of Neverland and bring it to life in this production.

Throughout this process the McLean theatre family has welcome me and supported me in ways that I never thought could be possible during my first year as director. I am eternally grateful to everyone who made this monumental task a possibility for me. I would like to thank my actors for their dedication to the characters and ideas in this script, my technical crew for turning my crazy ideas into reality, my booster parents for providing me with endless amounts of assistance and advice, my family for their continued contributions to my theatre ventures, and my high school theatre director Tom Clark for being a true inspiration for my craft and my career. My first show at McLean has been a whirlwind experience that I will remember forever.

I would like to dedicate this show to my best friend Brittany McGrath who was with me every step of the way on this journey. Thank you for helping me find my love of directing and encouraging me to follow my passion for theatre. You always starred in each of my shows, so I’ve tried to capture your spirit in the character of Tinkerbell because I know that you were born for that role. I will never forget you and our awfully big adventure.


The critically acclaimed play, The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan, written by Phillip C. Klapperich, was first performed in July of 2002 at the House Theatre in Chicago. The play centers on the internal struggles of the classic Peter Pan character as he faces the terrifying reality of becoming an adult.

While the play stays true to the original work by J.M. Barrie, Klapperich’s script adds and alters various characters. The doctor serves as a narrator to take the audience on in-depth adventure through Peter’s psyche. Classic characters such as Tinker Bell, Hook, Wendy appear in a drastically different and more modern light.

This play plunges into some of the more sinister themes often skirted over in traditional portrayals of this beloved story. This is Neverland like you’ve never seen it before.

Disclaimer: McLean High School provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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