The day before hundreds of third and fourth graders are bussed to Waxahachie High School to see the theater department’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher — a Broadway classic — students were busy putting the final touches on the nearly two-hour-long musical play.

The Daily Light snuck backstage of the state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center as students dressed up in sparkling costumes. The sounds of chatter, laughter and the construction of props filled the air. Head Drama Director Andy Reynolds reeled off directions to his students like a Tony award-winning director.

The show opens with a colorful display of shimmering mermaids with seashell tops. The gender fluid display makes for a hilarious showing.

“The most fun part is being able to go all out there, like the flamboyance, and just do whatever comes to my mind, whether that be physical or with my voice," Will Deen, 17, said.

Peter and the Starcatcher is a prequel to Peter Pan based on the children's book. It first appeared as a play on Broadway in 2012.

Brilliant performances

In this student production, the poor orphaned child called Boy who becomes Peter Pan is played by the talented Eva Wallace. Her powerful portrayal as the lead actor will leave the audience wanting more.

Molly, played by Madeline Condor, turns Boy’s world around as they become close-knit friends and travel aboard a Neverland ship headed for a faraway land to protect a treasure trunk from pirates and thieves. Condor’s charm and commitment to the role make her stand out.

Deen transforms into the evil and greedy pirate Black Stache/Captain Hook, who tries to get his hands on the treasure trunk but instead gets his hand chopped off. Deen’s remarkable acting is comical and convincing.

The actors speak with believable English accents that will have you fooled. Twenty-four students appear on stage and 10 are behind the scenes in charge of lighting, sound and other roles.

“I’m in the chorus and in pretty much in every scene,” Nadia Sigala, 17, said. “I just run around and be a pirate which is really fun. In the second act I’m a mollusk and I have to act like a native, and it’s really fun.”

Packed with entertainment, the show features brilliant singing and dancing as well.

Reynolds, who has lead the theater department for 16 years and directed over 60 productions, is proud of his students for their dedication and hard work.

When the Daily Light visited on Oct. 21, the future Tony and Oscar winners practiced without pause from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. If that’s not impressive enough, Reynolds pointed out that the production was no walk in the park.

“This is a deceptively difficult play to do,” the director acknowledged. “It’s so many moving parts, so many different costumes, so many different exits and different themes, and different tempos. It's extremely difficult.”

Peter and the Starcatcher runs Oct. 24 – 26 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center.

“I hope everybody comes out to see it,” Reynolds urged. “It’s a family friendly show … this is just storytelling at its finest. There are a few little funny things that only the adults would get, but that’s just good writing."

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Proceeds will support the theater department and booster club.