Kevin Rudzinski (John Darling), left, Ciaran Hill (Michael Darling) and Emmaline Terry (Wendy Darling) test their flying skills Friday, July 6, 2012, during rehearsals at Erne Auditorium for the Mill Race Players' upcoming production of Peter Pan. The actors, along with Madelyn Lego (Peter Pan), will take to the sky during four performances with the help of ZFX Flying Effects of Louisville.
From a distance, Madelyn Lego looked toward the upper reaches of the Columbus North High School auditorium stage.
“I’m a little nervous,” she said.
This from a veteran community actress who sometimes has had to force a few butterflies backstage to establish her best dramatic edge.
“But I’m pretty excited to get the experience,” she said. “It’s not something that a lot of people can say they’ve done.”
Unless you’re Superman, perhaps.
The teen performer referred to flying — or at least a pretty professionally polished version of it for the sake of entertainment. Lego plays the lead character in Mill Race Players’ presentation of the European adaptation of the musical “Peter Pan,” which runs Friday through Sunday at the auditorium.
And, with the wisdom and harnesses of ZFX Flying Effects, a Louisville, Ky., firm that helped the Broadway cast of “Pan” soar to popular heights, Lego and a few of her cast mates occasionally will find themselves above it all during the production. She and others talked about the plans days before their first takeoff.
“Kids especially better not be able to see a wire,” said producer Sharon Sung with a laugh.
She mentioned that youngsters represent probably the toughest audience for such an illusion because they have seen so much technical wizardry on television and in movies.
ZFX simply was scheduled to work with Mill Race’s technical crew to teach them how to map and guide the flight plan of the cast members.
“For me, I’m going to have to learn how to control my body in the air,” Lego said. “But I’m sure I’ll figure it out. And I don’t really have that many fears.
“After all, I know this (flying) is exactly what this company does.”
Others are ready to get on up.
“I think it will be exhilarating to learn how to do something like that,” said Emmaline Terry, who plays Wendy Darling, whom Peter whisks to Neverland. “But the harness needs to be loose enough for good breath support.”
That’s because she and Lego, a pal for years, must sing while they zoom through the air.
Terry laughed about the fact that, during her childhood, she excitedly met an actor playing Peter at a Disney World production of the show.
“I wanted to be like Wendy,” Terry said. “She has kind of a nurturing, caregiver role.”
Others must be more intense.
Corey Brasher, who plays Capt. Hook, has grown a beard for a decidedly dastardly look for his part. But, under his knotted kerchief, he’s a proud dad happy to share the show’s experience with his 9-year-old son who’s among the pirates.
He’s also happy to see the flying bring the story to life. In one scene, Peter hovers over him and croons a tune.
“We all helped with a little bit of fundraising (for it),” Brasher said. “And I think it’s wonderful that everybody wants this to happen.”
And cast and crew want all of it to happen with a special aim toward children. With that goal in mind, front-of-house manager Caitlin Smith will have a snappy-looking crocodile greeting little ones in the lobby and posing for photos, since the show features a croc that battles Hook.
“I think it’s important we reach out to kids,” Smith said. “As soon as the children walk in, we want to set a mood and tone.”
Of fun. Of the magic of flying.
With — almost — no strings attached.
Clap your hands if you believe
WHAT: Mill Race Players’ European adaptation of the musical “Peter Pan.”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Columbus North High School’s Judson Erne Auditorium.
TICKETS: $7 in advance or $10 at the door for adults; $5 in advance and at the door for children, students and seniors. Tickets available at Viewpoint Books, Columbus Area Visitors Center, Lincoln Central Neighborhood Family Center, Blackerby’s Hangar 5 Restaurant, and Soups By Design.
PRINCIPAL CAST: Peter Pan (Maddie Lego); Wendy Darling (Emmaline Terry); John Darling (Kevin Rudzinski); Michael Darling (Ciaran Hill); Mr. Darling (David DeBolt); Mrs. Darling (Julia Oltman); (Captain Hook (Corey Brasher); Smee (Benjamin Herrald). Director is Caleb Blackerby. Producer is Sharon Sung. Music director is Adam Johnson.
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