"Peter Pan" is one of those Broadway musicals that's unforgettable for audiences of any age.
And the credit for the magic is not only the classic story of emphasizing the importance of feeling and thinking young by Sir James Barrie, but also Olympic Gymnast Cathy Rigby as the lead and her cast in the Broadway touring production.
The all-time favorite musical is at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago only through Sunday, but this experience lasts much longer for audiences who attend the two-hour beautifully produced trip from nursery to Neverland.
That last time Rigby and her touring company brought this fantastic show to Chicago was in February 2005. (She and husband Tom McCoy own the company and property for the show rights.)
From her vocals to her portrayal, Rigby, who has just turned 60, is able to transform herself night after night into the famed storybook boy who won't grow up. And even though she's logged more than 3,000 performances, she's just as fresh as ever with every word and action.
Joining Rigby is Broadway's Brent Barrett as Mr. Darling and alter-ego Captain Hook. He is just the right mix of funny and menacing, offering some funny inside jokes to the parents in the audience.
Kim Crosby plays mom Mrs. Darling (as well as a very scary mermaid) and Dane Wagner is the perfect "Lost Boy" to lead the pack, while James Leo Ryan makes a great foil as bumbling Smee, right hand man to Captain Hook. Jenna Wright gives more grit to the role of Indian princess Tiger Lily than I've seen in a long time.
And yes, there's also the tick-tock, clock swallowing crocodile who is never too far from Captain Hook's coattails.
Favorite songs include "I'm Flying," I Won't Grow Up" and "Neverland." There's also a heart-poundingly perfect opening number for Act 2 with Indian drums and the entire cast called "Ugg-a-Wugg."
"Peter Pan" is produced by McCoy Rigby Entertainment, Nederlander Presentations, Albert Nocciolino in association with Larry Earl Payton, Michael Filerman, Heni Koenigsberg and La Mirada Theatre For The Performing Arts.
The scenery by John Iacovelli is a masterpiece work-of-art, as are the costumes by Shigeru Yaji.
Directed by Glenn Casale who directed the 1999 Tony Award nominated and Emmy winning TV version of "Peter Pan" starring Rigby, the amazing flying sequence is from choreographer Paul Rubin.
The remaining performances are 7:30 p.m. tonight and Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $18-$85 with a select number of premium seats also available for many performances. Tickets are available for groups of 15 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Tickets are available at the Cadillac Theatre box office, 151 West Randolph St. in Chicago or call (800) 775-2000 or visit BroadwayInChicago.com or cathyrigbyispeterpan.com.