Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

July 24, 2013

`Peter Pan’ ready for takeoff with Summer Theatre Ensemble

Aerial work will be show-stopper

A popular summer camp for local drama kids is helping five performers soar in a big way this summer.

Summer Theatre Ensemble will be putting five of its young charges in the air — literally — as “Peter Pan The Musical” flies onto the Collins Center stage at Andover High School next weekend.

But before Peter, Wendy and the rest can fly off to Never Land to visit the charming world of make-believe, they have to practice theatrical flying. That’s happening this week at rehearsals.

Producer Elly Seavey of Andover hired Flying by Foy of Las Vegas to teach the technical crew how it’s done. A representative of the flight professionals is in town this week to show them the ropes.

“They are the best in the business,” Seavey said.

The young actors and crew members are thrilled at the opportunity. While zip line recreation may be getting more popular for teens, zipping on stage is new for this cast.

“I have never flown on stage before and I’m psyched. ... It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Meg Dwinell, 17, of Tewksbury, a senior at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence who is playing Peter Pan.

Ava Grieco of Andover, who plays Wendy, agreed. “I’ve jumped on a trampoline, but that’s as close to flying as I got,” Grieco said.

It’s the second time Summer Theatre Ensemble has staged “Peter Pan” and Flying By Foy also helped the 2006 cast successfully take flight on stage.

Director Susan Choquette, who is also the drama director at Andover High School, said she has confidence in the tech crew to duplicate the stage feat again.

“It’s magical and really draws the audience in, I think,” Choquette said of the flying scenes.

Choquette said she herself will never forget seeing Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby in a production of “Peter Pan” and how the aerial effects captivated the audience.

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