Q&A With Melissa WolfKlain, Star of Peter Pan, The Mountain Play

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$18 Children (Ages 4-13): $25 |  Young Adult (Ages 14-21): $30 | $40 adults | $35 seniors | Children 3 and under: FREE โ€“ no ticket required

Hang with fairies, lead the Lost Boys into battle against the nefarious Captain Hook and his pirates and let your imagination roam free as the swash-buckling Boy Who Never Grew Up, Peter Pan, comes to life on stage for the 2015 Mountain Play. I am extremely excited to share an exclusive interview with the actress playing Peter Pan, Melissa WolfKlain.

Tell me about the actress behind Peter.

I went to a high school known for their theater program in San Mateo, started dancing at 15, and received a BFA in musical theater from University of Arizona. Peter Pan was my first role after graduating. At the time, I was in call backs for the national tour of 42nd Street when I was offered the part to play Peter Pan and I wasn't sure what I should do. The director said, "How often will you get to play Peter Pan?" I knew he was right. Peter Pan is a dream role because you get to sing, dance, act, fly, sword fight. It's a win-win-win. I'm excited to be doing it again.

What will the audience like the most about this production? 

You are going to see everything. You'll see the wires and operators pulling the ropes. Michael Schwartz, the director, often thinks of it as a radio play. You are using your imagination. It's very playful, imaginative, and different to anything you've ever seen. We also have great dance numbers and a great cast.

What is your favorite part about being Peter Pan? 

I love being a role model to the younger cast members. We have a lot of middle and high school aged kids in this show. It's really fun to see their process and excitement in their eyes with the stuff we are doing. 

What excites you for this show?

I've never performed in an outdoor theater, in broad daylight, and I've never played the lead for over 3000 people. And Peter is a physically and vocally demanding role. All those things are really fun and exciting.

Many people are familiar with the Disney version of Peter Pan. How is this version different?

This performance stays truer to the J.M. Barrie story. The version were are doing is the original Broadway production. 

Is Nana part of the performance?

You'll have to see.

In the original story, Tigerlily is part of a Native American tribe, which has been problematic with other performances. How is this play handling such a sensitive topic? 

Michael Schwartz, the director, wanted to trim that all together. We are calling them "Neverland Natives" so they can be what every we want them to be. 

If you could choose any of the roles in Peter Pan, what is the role you connect with?

I love to play Peter because he gets to do everything. Hook is a really fun role. He has the best one-liners. But I think everyone identifies with Wendy most. Her story and growth from a child to realizing she wants a family of her own. She has a change and drive throughout the show while Peter doesn't change. He has this one constant desire; to never grow up.

Why do people identify with the story of Peter Pan? 

It's a fairytale about not having rules, responsibilities, and bills to pay. You get to relax and just be. That's not realistic but for two hours in the theater you can. It's the fantasy of theater everyone looks forward to. 

This production is part of Sir J.M. Barrieโ€™s bequest to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, which has benefited thousands of children in the years since his death. The producers are proud and happy that everyone who buys a ticket for this performance of Peter Pan is helping a sick child get well.