The musical “Peter and the Starcatcher” is a prequel to the popular story of “Peter Pan.” The Southwestern theatre department will be performing the musical in Richardson Performing Arts Center on Oct. 6-7 at 7:30 pm, and Oct. 8 at 2 pm.
The story revolves around a lonely orphan boy who becomes the legendary Peter Pan. Ryan Pangracs, theatre education freshman, will play the lead as Peter, Jack Warring, musical theatre sophomore, will play the role of Captain Stache, and Allyson Moon, director of theatre at southwestern, is the director of “Peter and the Starcatcher.”
“I actually wanted the role of Prentice,” said Pangracs, “I thought it was a silly, fun character so I didn’t expect anything and thought Prentice is a good one to shoot for.”
When Moon casted Pangracs as Peter she knew he could handle the spotlight as the lead.
“There is a great innocence about him,” said Moon, “Because Peter and the Starcatcher is a prequel, you discover where Peter Pan came from, and it comes with a sad background as an orphan, and he’s a complex character. It became clear that Ryan really understood that complexity.”
As a freshman, Pangracs had a short amount of time to get to know his castmembers, as well as learn how to work with them.
“A lot of these people have already developed a relationship, and a system of things work,” Pangracs said, “So the toughest part is understanding that, but everyone is great, everyone is hardworking and they care.”
Pangracs has fit in with the rest of the cast, as they have embraced him and his experience in the theatre.
“Ryan is great, honestly. He has come in with so much experience just from high school,” Warring said. “I’ve seen him in previous performances. I saw him in a performance when he was a sophomore in high school called ‘How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.’”
Pangracs is from Leavenworth, as Moon explained that a lot of the theatre students graduating high school from the northeast part of the state usually continue their education in that part of the state, or will go out of state. However, Pangracs’ theatre teacher at his high school is a Southwestern alum.
When Pangracs isn’t in class or in rehearsal, he enjoys spending his free time playwriting.
“I’m excited,” exclaimed Pangracs. “I always tell myself that I get anxious before a performance, but I never do. I want to fuel myself with some kind of anxiety or fear, but it’s always just excitement.”
Freshman students do not always carry these major roles, especially for the first performance of the year, nevertheless it is not as uncommon as some would think.
“It happens when it is appropriate,” Moon explained, “Because we have a variety of ages within the characters of the play it becomes important to utilize the talents of the individuals, perhaps those who are more experienced to play the older roles.”
Having a large role in a large production takes a lot of responsibility, and it seems as though Pangracs is taking on that challenge.
“I think he’s taking it super well, because I got cast as a lead last year,” Warring said, “So I’ve been in his shoes and it’s a lot of responsibility, and he’s handling it with such maturity.”
Pangracs is also taking on a major tech role as he is promoting the play as well. When Pangracs graduates he would like to teach theatre at the high school, or collegiate level.
“Here’s the cool part, while I am playing Peter Pan, I’m playing before he became Peter Pan.” Pangracs explained. “So he isn’t yet that established character that everyone knows.”
Pangracs is looking forward to this opportunity, and what the future holds as his theatre life at Southwestern has just begun.
“I would just say that we are fortunate to have him here at Southwestern College,” said Moon.
Tanner Carlson is a senior majoring in communication. You may email him at email@example.com.