Broadway’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” play offers a recent incarnation of J.M. Barrie’s immortal Peter Pan. But the character goes way, way back, and his story has been told and retold on many occasions. Here are some of the other good ways to rendezvous with the feisty flying boy:
The Broadway musical “Peter Pan”: The catchy songs (“I Won’t Grow Up,” “I’ve Gotta Crow”), the colorful storytelling and live-action flying are some of the charms of the 1954 stage show that originally starred the great Mary Martin as a raffish Peter. A 1960 TV version with Martin is on DVD, and though low-tech by today’s standards it’s still delightful family fare. A later rendition, with the charismatic former gymnast Cathy Rigby in the title role, is also recommended on DVD.
Disney’s “Peter Pan”: Disney’s 1953 classic feature has original songs (“You Can Fly!”) and memorable animated versions of the classic Barrie characters including little Tinker Bell (who now has her own movie and computer game). A mediocre 2002 animated sequel, “Return to Never Land,” updates the action to World War II.
“Peter Pan” Talkie, and Silent: The live-action 2003 film “Peter Pan” starring Jeremy Sumpter is visually and dramatically satisfying. Also on DVD: a decorous 1924 silent version of Barrie’s original “Peter Pan” play, fully restored for home viewing.
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“Peter Pan” in print: The three Barrie novels featuring Peter Pan are great read-aloud material, and remain in print — hopefully, in perpetuity.
Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic