Peter Pan December 23, 2017-January 1, 2018

December 23, 2017-January 1, 2018

Cahn Auditorium, Evanston

Order Peter Pan Tickets

Kids 1/2 price! 25 and younger

Take your picture with a cast member after the show!



“I gotta crow”

Peter and his mischievous fairy sidekick Tinkerbell visit the nursery of the Darling children late one night and, with a sprinkle of pixie dust, begin a magical journey across the stars that none of them (or you) will ever forget. The beloved family classic includes the songs I Gotta Crow, I Won’t Grow Up, I’m Flying and Neverland.
Ages 6 and older

With 26-piece orchestra

Peter Pan
A musical based on the play by Sir J.M. Barrie
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh
Music by Morris (Moose) Charlap
Additional Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Additional music by Jule Styne
Originally directed, choreographed and adapted by Jerome Robbins

Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 2 pm
Tuesday, December 26 at 2 pm*
Wednesday, December 27 at 2 pm*
Friday, December 29 at 8 pm
Saturday, December 30 at 2* & 8 pm
Sunday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve) at 2 & 8 pm
Monday, January 1, 2018 at 2 pm

* = Talk Back Q&A and photos with cast members after the matinees on December 26, 27 and 30

Tickets start at $34
Age 25 and younger 1/2 price (suitable for 6 and older)

Order Peter Pan Tickets


Or call (847) 920-5360


Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including two intermissions



Musical Excerpts



Peter Pan takes flight

By Michael Kotze

When one thinks of groundbreaking American musicals of the 1950s, Peter Pan might not be the first title that springs to mind. It might not spring to mind at all. But Peter Pan was a milestone in Broadway history—it was the first show directed and choreographed by one of America’s greatest and most influential theater artists, Jerome Robbins.

By 1954, Robbins was one of Broadway’s most sought-after choreographers. An accomplished dancer with both ballet and musical comedy credits, Robbins made his spectacular debut as a Broadway choreographer with 1944’s On the Town. Just as Leonard Bernstein’s score melded a traditional “show tune” sound with an expansive and sophisticated contemporary music sensibility, Robbins’ dances seamlessly blended old-school hoofing with the exacting technique of ballet.

Even though On the Town was directed by the grand old man of Broadway, George Abbott, it is Robbins’ choreography that defined its staging; indeed, the show was essentially Robbins’ idea, based as it was on his ballet (with another Bernstein score) Fancy Free, a hit attraction for the American Ballet Theatre. Robbins was a man with big ideas, and it was only a matter of time before his ambitions would take him beyond choreography.

From Nellie Forbush to Peter Pan

Which is where Peter Pan comes in. Mary Martin had long wished to play the boy who wouldn’t grow up, and over the years a number of chances to do so had slipped through her fingers. So when she was approached in 1953 by California’s Civic Light Opera to appear in a new musical version of the piece, she jumped at the opportunity. She responded to the offer by telegram: “Yes, if we can get Jerome Robbins.”

By this time, coming off her starring role in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s smash South Pacific, she had the clout to choose the creative team for the project, and she had no hesitation in selecting her director.

Martin had worked with Robbins that year on the “Ford 50th Anniversary Show,” a two-hour television variety spectacular celebrating the Ford Motor Company’s golden jubilee, broadcast simultaneously on CBS and NBC. As star-studded as this event was, everyone seemed to agree the evening’s highlight was a twelve-minute duo performance by Broadway’s two greatest stars, Martin and Ethel Merman. This enormous production was directed by Robbins, and Martin was hugely impressed by his work. She later wrote, “the genius of Jerry Robbins really made the show possible.”

By the time Martin’s invitation to direct Peter Pan came through, Robbins had choreographed eight Broadway musicals, including breathtaking work on The King and I. He was champing at the bit to direct, and here at last was his chance. When the Civic Light Opera proposed a new musical version of Peter Pan, they weren’t kidding—the show had yet to be written. The task of creating a new book out of the existing sources—J.M. Barrie’s original 1904 play and his novel, plus the numerous adaptations that followed through the years—fell to Robbins, putting him in a unique position to fashion this new Peter Pan from the ground up.

Calling the shots

The choice of songwriters was still Martin’s call, however. Inspiration came from an unexpected quarter—she and her husband were driving home one night when the song “Young at Heart” came on the radio, and they were struck by the lyric’s pertinence to Peter Pan. They discovered that the lyricist, Carolyn Leigh, was no longer working with the composer of “Young at Heart,” but had a new songwriting partner, Morris Charlap (whose ironic nickname, “Moose,” belied his diminutive stature). Charlap and Leigh auditioned for Martin and Robbins, and got the job, to Leigh’s astonishment. “We had no idea what we were doing,” Leigh recalled. She was 27 at the time; Charlap was 25. Neither had written anything for the musical stage, and Leigh claimed at that point in her life she had seen only one musical. But their youth and optimism charmed Martin, and Robbins gave them his nod of approval as well.

Robbins went to work on the book. He said, “I thought that maybe I could find a way of doing it freshly and less stickily, less cutely, more robustly.” He reveled in the fantasy and humor of the material, and excised the cloying sentimentality that crept into many of the earlier stage adaptations.

During this pre-production period, Robbins was approached by his old On the Town colleague George Abbott to choreograph his new show, The Pajama Game. But Robbins had other ideas. He proposed that he co-direct the show with Abbott, and bring in newcomer Bob Fosse to choreograph. Abbott accepted, knowing if the unproven Fosse didn’t work out he had Robbins in the room as a backup. Most importantly to Robbins, this deal gave him the chance to exercise his directorial voice for the first time on Broadway, and served as a valuable practice run for Peter Pan. After The Pajama Game opened in May of 1954, Robbins left for California to prepare for the San Francisco opening of Peter Pan, slated for July.

Augmenting the score

Over the next few months, the course of Peter Pan did not run smooth. Robbins’ ambitious flight choreography was more complicated that any ever attempted, and took countless hours of rehearsal time. And Robbins was concerned that Charlap and Leigh’s score, while charming, was lacking some key elements, most notably a song that stated what Peter Pan was all about; a theme song. Veteran songwriters (and previous Robbins collaborators) Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, currently working in Hollywood, were brought up to San Francisco to pitch in. They agreed with Robbins that the score needed augmentation, and to Leigh and Charlap’s discomfort, went to work on some new songs. “The producer now has Comden-and-Green-and-Jule-Styne-itis,” Leigh wrote her agent, “and dislikes pretty much nearly everything we do.”

As awkward as the situation might have been for the young songwriters, they need not have worried; though some of their work was edged out by the new material, the bulk of the score (including “I’ve Gotta Crow,” “I’m Flying” and “I Won’t Grow Up”) is theirs. The Styne-Comden-Green contribution extends to about half-a-dozen numbers, including the “theme song” for which Robbins was looking, “Neverland.”

Robbins’ continual working and re-working of the piece paid off. When it arrived at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre, opening on October 20, 1954, it was finally the show he had envisioned. Perhaps Walter Kerr, influential theater critic of the Herald Tribune, put it best: “It’s the way ‘Peter Pan’ always should have been and wasn’t.” It was a personal triumph for Mary Martin (one she would repeat for audiences of millions on television), and a triumphant calling card for Jerome Robbins’ new role as director.

The rest is history. Under Jerome Robbins’ direction, a trio of landmark musicals would follow, three shows that are arguably the finest the American musical theater has produced: West Side Story, Gypsy and Fiddler on the Roof. Each of these masterpieces was shaped, nurtured and brought to theatrical life by a man whose unerring command of musical storytelling made him the absolute master of harnessing the myriad elements that make up this kaleidoscopic art form.

And it all began with Peter Pan.


Mary Martin, Broadway’s original Peter Pan, also starred in three television versions of the beloved musical.


Peter Pan on Broadway and television

The original 1954 Broadway production starred Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook, earning Tony Awards for both performers. It was followed by NBC telecasts in 1955, 1956, and 1960 (with the same stars), plus several rebroadcasts of the 1960 telecast.

The show was revived on Broadway in 1979, starring Sandy Duncan and George Rose. A third Broadway production was mounted in 1990, starring former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby as Peter. It was revived in 1999, again with Cathy Rigby.

In 2014, the musical was broadcast live on NBC, featuring several new numbers and starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken.


Talk Back

Ask questions and take your picture with the actors after these matinees:

Tuesday, December 26
Wednesday, December 27
Saturday, December 30

(Take your picture with a cast member after every performance of Peter Pan!)


Click either photo to view and download a larger image.

Peter Pan at Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works),
December 23, 2017-January 1, 2018, at Cahn Auditorium, Evanston, IL.

Photo credit: Rich Foreman

Peter Pan at Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works),
December 23, 2017-January 1, 2018, at Cahn Auditorium, Evanston, IL.

Photo credit: Rich Foreman


Peter Pan at Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works),
December 23, 2017-January 1, 2018, at Cahn Auditorium, Evanston, IL.

Photo credit: Rich Foreman


To come


Contact: Christopher Riley
Director of Audience and Press Services
(847) 920-5354 ext. 10 (press only)


December 23, 2017–January 1, 2018

Music Theater Works
(formerly Light Opera Works)

with full orchestra
A musical based on the play by Sir J.M. Barrie
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh
Music by Morris (Moose) Charlap
Additional Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Additional Music by Jule Styne
Originally directed, choreographed and adapted by Jerome Robbins
Directed by Rudy Hogenmiller
Choreographed by Clayton Cross
Conducted by Roger L. Bingaman

Saturday, December 23, 2017, at 2 pm (matinee)
Tuesday, December 26, at 2 pm
Wednesday, December 27, at 2 pm
Friday, December 29, at 8 pm
Saturday, December 30, at 2 and 8 pm
Sunday, December 31, at 2 and 8 pm
Monday, January 1, 2018, at 2 pm

Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street, Evanston, IL

Tickets start at $34. Ages 25 and younger half-price.
(847) 920-5360 •


EVANSTON, IL: Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works) presents PETER PAN at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, December 23, 2017 through January 1, 2018.

The family classic about the boy who won’t grow up includes the songs “I Gotta Crow,” “I Won’t Grow Up,” “I’m Flying” and “Neverland,” accompanied by a full orchestra.

PETER PAN is directed by Music Theater Works artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller, conducted by music director Roger L. Bingaman and choreographed by Clayton Cross.

The cast for PETER PAN includes Aubrey Adams (Peter Pan), Larry Adams (Mr. Darling/ Captain Hook), Elizabeth Stenholt (Wendy Darling/Jane), Anna Marie Abbate (Tiger Lily) and Cary Lovett (Smee).

The design/production team is Adam Veness (scenic), Robert S. Kuhn (costumes), Andrew H. Meyers (lighting), Aaron Quick (sound), Matthew Silar (stage manager) and Katie Beeks (production manager).

PETER PAN is Music Theater Works’ final production of 2017. The 2018 season will be THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE (June 9-17), ANYTHING GOES (August 18-26) the concert performance JUDY GARLAND: COME RAIN OR COME SHINE starring Angela Ingersoll (October 5-14) and INTO THE WOODS (December 22-31).

2018 subscription tickets are now available.

Tickets for PETER PAN begin at $34. Ages 25 and younger are half price. To order tickets, or for more information, call the Music Theater Works box office at (847) 920-5360 or order online 24 hours a day at


Director/Music Director/Choreographer Biographies

RUDY HOGENMILLER (Director), artistic director of Music Theater Works, has directed and choreographed many productions for the company including DUKE ELLINGTON’S GREATEST HITS, GYPSY, CANDIDE, DIE FLEDERMAUS, LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU: JULE STYNE’S GREATEST HITS, MAME, MY FAIR LADY, GUYS AND DOLLS, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE FANTASTICKS, THE MERRY WIDOW, COLE PORTER’S GREATEST HITS, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, H.M.S. PINAFORE, OLIVER!, MAN OF LA MANCHA, CAMELOT, BRIGADOON, HELLO, DOLLY!, THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, KISS ME, KATE, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE MIKADO and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Hogenmiller was seen on stage in 2014 as Mr. Applegate in DAMN YANKEES, and as the Emcee in CABARET in 2013. He has been recognized with six Joseph Jefferson Awards and 17 nominations for best direction and choreography in Chicago, and has been a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers for more than 35 years.

ROGER L. BINGAMAN (Music Director and Conductor) conducts the full orchestra. Bingaman made his first appearance on the Music Theater Works podium in 1997, conducting THE MERRY WIDOW. Since then he has conducted many productions, including GYPSY, CANDIDE, DIE FLEDERMAUS, MAME, MY FAIR LADY, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE FANTASTICKS, CABARET, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, H.M.S. PINAFORE, OLIVER!, CAMELOT, THE STUDENT PRINCE, BRIGADOON, HELLO, DOLLY! CAROUSEL, and THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD, as well as THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, THE MUSIC MAN, IOLANTHE, GIGI, OKLAHOMA!, BITTER SWEET, KISS ME, KATE, 110 IN THE SHADE, NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY and BEAUTIFUL HELEN OF TROY. Bingaman has been director of the apprentice program and chorus master for the Sarasota Opera since 1998.

CLAYTON CROSS (Choreographer and Nana/Crocodile) choreographed GYPSY and played Tulsa, CANDIDE, MAME, MY FAIR LADY and GUYS AND DOLLS at Music Theater Works, where he also played the Mute in THE FANTASTICKS and was a featured dancer in DAMN YANKEES. Cross served for five years as artistic advisor, board member and choreographer for Renegade Dance Architects, and continues to consult and contribute choreography to the Capitol One Bowl’s ALL AMERICAN HALFTIME SHOW. He is a master teacher for M.A. Dance, a Texas-based traveling convention circuit, where he has worked and judged for the past 17 years. Throughout his 20-year career as a dancer, Cross has worked with Robert Battle, Fernando Bujones, Frank Chaves, Paul Taylor, and Ann Reinking. He was featured in EVERY DANCER HAS A STORY, a PBS special about the River North Chicago Dance Company, where he was a company member for nine seasons and toured nationally and internationally. Originally from Midland, Texas, Cross received his early training from La Petite Dance Company, Coleman Academy, and the Midland Community Theatre. He holds a BFA in ballet and modern dance from Texas Christian University.


Cast Biographies

AUBREY ADAMS (Peter Pan) makes her Music Theater Works debut. Chicago area appearances include MY FAIR LADY at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and MAMMA MIA! (dance captain), WEST SIDE STORY (Anybodys) A CHRISTMAS STORY (dance captain), OKLAHOMA (Ado Annie u/s), LES MISERABLES (Eponine u/s/dance captain), and THE WHO’S TOMMY at Paramount Theatre. Regional credits include CATS (Rumpleteazer), 42ND STREET (Ethel), GREASE (Patty Simcox), HAIRSPRAY (Tammy), THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, RENT, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT and EVITA at Casa Mañana Theatre in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2 (Violet), THE PRODUCERS, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, and THE MUSIC MAN at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. Recent choreography credits include URINETOWN (BoHo Theatre Company) and BONNIE & CLYDE (Kokandy Theatre Company).

LARRY ADAMS (Mr. Darling/Captain Hook) was last seen at Music Theater Works in LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU: JULE STYNE’S GREATEST HITS. Other appearances with the company include SOUTH PACIFIC (Emile de Becque), THE MERRY WIDOW (Danilo), KISS ME, KATE (Fred Graham), 110 IN THE SHADE (Starbuck), THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Captain von Trapp), THE MUSIC MAN (Harold Hill), A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Fredrik), and I DO! I DO! (Michael). Other Chicago credits include Drury Lane, Goodman, Marriott, Writers Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Paramount, Theatre at the Center and Victory Gardens. Regionally, he performed at Fulton Theatre in SWEENEY TODD, on Broadway in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and off-Broadway in THE HUNCHBACK VARIATIONS and PHOTO-OP. Larry was honored by Chicago magazine in its “Best of Chicago” issue. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison, and a proud member of Actors’ Equity.

ELIZABETH STENHOLT (Wendy Darling/Jane) makes her Music Theater Works debut. Chicago area credits include Caril Fugate in LOVE KILLS (Steppenwolf 1700 Theatre), Thomasina in ARCADIA (Writers Theatre), Thea/Wendla understudy in SPRING AWAKENING (Marriott Theatre), Emily Covington in DR. SEWARD’S DRACULA (First Folio Theatre), Party Goer/Zoe understudy in AIRLINE HIGHWAY (Steppenwolf Theatre), Morse Braithwaite in ONE FLEA SPARE (Eclipse Theatre Company), Victoria Roubideaux in PLAINSONG (Signal Ensemble Theatre), Laurie in BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS (The Raven and Fox Valley Repertory Theatre), the title role in CINDERELLA (Chicago Kids Company) and Juliet in scenes from ROMEO AND JULIET for Loyola University Chicago’s 27th Annual Law & Literature lecture series, SHAKESPEARE AND THE LAW

ANNA MARIE ABBATE (Tiger Lily) makes her Music Theater Works debut. She is a 2015 graduate of Millikin University with a B.A. in theater with a dance minor. She was recently seen at Northbrook Theatre in THE PAJAMA GAME, directed by three-time Jeff Award winner Dominic Missimi. She appeared in a University of Illinois dance workshop led by SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE star Sonya Teyah, and choreographed HONK! at Devonshire Cultural Center. At Millikin, she choreographed the collegiate premiere of LOVE KILLS, THE MUSICAL, YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, and EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL. Other appearances include FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Hodel) and GUYS AND DOLLS (Hot Box girl) at Wilmette Center for the Arts, and SCROOGE THE MUSICAL (Belle) at Prairie Lakes Theatre.

CARY LOVETT (Smee) returns to Music Theater Works, where he was Vanderdendur in CANDIDE, Nicely-Nicely Johnson in GUYS AND DOLLS, Mr. Bumble in OLIVER!, Sancho Panza in MAN OF LA MANCHA, and Alfred P. Doolittle in both the 2017 and 2009 productions of MY FAIR LADY. During the past 30 years Lovett has moved from male ingénue (Lt. Cable in SOUTH PACIFIC at Drury Lane Evergreen Park) to leading man (Jean Valjean understudy in LES MISERABLES on the third national tour) into the wonderful grab bag of character roles. He has performed with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus and the acclaimed vocal ensemble Chicago a cappella, and can be heard singing throughout the Chicago area as a cantor at numerous churches.

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Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works) is a resident professional not-for-profit theater in Evanston, founded in 1980. The company’s mission is to produce and present musical theater from a variety of world traditions. All productions are presented in English, with foreign works done in carefully edited modern translations. Maximum scholarship is employed to preserve the original vocal and orchestral material as well as the spirit of the original text whenever possible. Audiences know that at Music Theater Works they will experience repertoire often unavailable on the stages of commercial theaters and opera houses, in modern productions with professional artists and full orchestra.

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Music Theater Works’ mission is to produce and present musical theater from a variety of world traditions, to engage the community through educational and outreach programs, and to train artists in musical theater.

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To come

Captain Hook