When the curtain rises later this week for the Farmington Hills Youth Theatre’s production of “Peter Pan,” the long hours of rehearsal from the cast and crew will have paid off.
Community members are invited to take a trip through Never Never Land with the Lost Boys when about 140 children, teens and adults in two separate casts present the ever-popular “Peter Pan” Nov. 15-18 at the Costick Center.
The show promises to entertain with two enthusiastic performers cast as the lead: Jackie Labadie, who has watched “Peter Pan” “a million times,” and Amelia Carlson, a seventh-grade student at Our Lady Of Sorrows in Farmington Hills.
Carlson is in the Big Ben Cast, which performs at 7 p.m. Thursday; 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. Sunday. Labadie is in the Trafalgar Cast, which performs 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday.
“I’m so excited,” Carlson, 12, said. “It’s going to be really fun. I love ‘Peter Pan.’ I’ve loved it since I was a little kid.”
Cast members auditioned for their roles and began perfecting them about two months ago. “Peter Pan” tells the story of a young boy who never wanted to grow up. It is a favorite among both children and adults.
“‘Peter Pan’ has always been one of my favorite stories,” said Nancy Coumoundouros, Farmington Hills cultural arts supervisor. “Just the feeling of being able to escape to a place of wonder and adventure. Children love the thought of being free and being able to return to the safety of home.”
“Peter Pan is so fun and brave,” Carlson said.
“He likes to have fun and go on adventures,” said 14-year-old Labadie, who brings that philosophy to the character. “I just take the lines and make them as fun as they can be.”
“It’s really fun,” said Labadie, a North Farmington High School ninth-grade student. “I love it. I love ‘Peter Pan.’ It’s one of my favorite Disney movies. It’s just a really fun, heart-warming story with the Lost Boys in the forest with all the different characters.”
Carlson feels ready for opening night.
“I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m prepared,” she said. “I love being on stage. I love entertaining people. Playing other characters gets me out of my comfort zone.”
“It’s so exciting when you get to show everyone what you’ve been working on,” Labadie said.
Carlson admitted learning lines can be “pretty challenging.” And if she had to pick her favorite actor, James Roday of “Pysch” is at the top of her list.
Labadie has been in a few other productions and was first introduced to theater “as a little kid.”
“My grandparents are really big into theater,” said the performer, who often helped out backstage with them during North Farmington High School productions. Labadie’s twin sister, Lizzie, will play Wendy in “Peter Pan.” Her other sisters are third-grader Felicity and 4-year-old Lucy.
The Farmington Hills Youth Theatre was created 10 years ago by the Cultural Arts Division of the city of Farmington Hills, in conjunction with Sky’s the Limit Productions. The program produces two major productions each year.
Tickets are $10 per person, and group rates are available. Children younger than 3 are admitted free. Reserve your “Peter Pan” tickets by calling (877) 785-7763. Tickets also are available at the door. The Costick Center is located at 28600 W. 11 Mile Road.