OFFBEAT: Actor from Hammond ready to play NYC in 'Peter Pan' stage sequel

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-05-19T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Actor from Hammond ready to play NYC in 'Peter Pan' stage sequelBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

Thanks to New York City Publicist Sarah Halford, I was tipped off that once local actor John Charles McLaughlin will be seen starring in the new off-Broadway production "Peter/Wendy" later this month in the Big Apple.

Conceived and directed by Jeremy Bloom, a protégé of Tony Award winning Mary Zimmerman, I'm told the plight of Peter Pan takes on "new life in an anxiety-ridden, deadly adventurous world of love, fairy dust and twilight."

She says this production includes pajama-clad performers, an exuberant ensemble of lost boys, pirates, fairies, and mermaids, while exploring familiar text compiled from the J.M. Barrie novels, "Peter Pan and Wendy" and "The Little White Bird."

It will be staged in the creative New York City performance space called the cell, at 338 W. 23rd St., featuring Bloom's signature low-tech, inventive image staging, to open up the imaginations of Peter and Wendy to share, while revealing the nuances of Neverland.

Originally from Hammond, our local stage familiar face McLaughlin studied vocal performance and theater at Indiana University and the Jacobs School of Music.

He was recently seen as Owen Duignan in the NY Times "Critics' Pick" production of Larry Kirwan's "Hard Times: An American Musical," also at the cell, where he is a resident artist. He also just made his NY City Center debut in "The Mikado" with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, with whom he is a company member. John is also a proud member of AEA. Check out his web site at

Performances of "Peter/Wendy" begin Thursday, May 30 and continue through Saturday, June 22. Opening Night is 8 p.m. Saturday, June 1. Visit for details.

Though McLaughlin says he is now proud to call himself a resident of Brooklyn, NY, he still has found memories of what he affectionately refers to his pals as "the Region."

He started singing at age 3 when he said his uncle gave him a copy of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods."  He said he landed his "first big break" at age 10 when he originated the role of the "Goat Boy" for his high school's production of "The Sound of Music," leading to what he describes as "his yodeling breakthrough."

At Towle Theater in Hammond, he played Bobby Strong in "Urinetown" in 2007.

He was also featured as the tenor soloist for the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra's performance of old standards, "The Best is Yet to Come," and has recorded and performed with IU's own Grammy-nominated Singing Hoosiers as a featured soloist across the country and world with notable performances in Athens, Greece (2007) and the Indiana Society of Washington D.C.'s 2009 Inaugural Ball.

When he's back home in Northwest Indiana, he sings with and performs recitals for St. Maria Goretti Church in Dyer, and has headlined two public concerts and lent his voice to three full-length albums to benefit various charitable organizations.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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