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CHAMPAIGN — Parkland College presents a family-friendly production of “Peter and the Starcatcher” beginning at 7:30 tonight.

It introduces us to the young orphan who will become Peter Pan, as well as some pirates, lost boys and a brave girl named Molly.

Thirteen actors will portray 100 characters in sea battles, jungle adventures and other escapades.

Director Mathew Green said “Peter and the Starcatcher” is a prequel to the classic Peter Pan story.

“It tells the story of how Peter became the character we now know,” he said.

The play was adapted from a young adult novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

The play appeared on Broadway in 2012 and won five Tony awards.

“What we hope to convey in this show is the power of imagination and the importance of storytelling, especially for young audiences,” Green said. “We’ve worked very hard to create a show that is very kid-friendly but will also appeal to older theater lovers.”

Parkland will have a sensory-safe performance on Sunday. Sensory-safe performances are also sometimes referred to as relaxed performances, Green said, “in which the theater lighting and effects are adjusted to make the show more welcoming to patrons who might otherwise find live theater performances overwhelming.”

Jace Jamison plays Black Stache, and there’s a hook.

“Black Stache is on the hunt for a true hero he can square off against, in hopes of becoming the ultimate pirate villain,” Jamison said.

But don’t be scared.

“Stache is a bit of a goof, who relies on (first mate) Smee more than he would ever admit,” he said.

It’s a play about growing up. And growing up to be bad.

“Hook himself will not have an appearance, (except briefly through angry outbursts towards others) but you do get to see the downfall of the name Black Stache, just before he continues his eternal chase of Peter Pan,” Jamison said.

“Aside from the physical transformation into Hook by famously losing his hand, (the play is about) the drive to become the most feared pirate on the seas, even though pirating has long gone out of style.”


Paul Wood is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@pvawood).