Get ready to crow as North Delta Secondary brings Peter Pan: The Musical to the stage for a trio of shows this month.
The show is a massive undertaking, months in the making, featuring a cast and crew of 80-odd students plus several teachers and outside professionals, all of whom have pulled together to tell the classic tale.
“We started rehearsal in October, [and the] kids rehearse anywhere from two to five days a week depending on their role,” said Stacy Inglin, the show’s director and a teacher at NDSS. “It’s really just an exciting, super fun play. The kids are great. They are working really hard, lots of dancing and stage fighting and fun costumes.”
At the centre of a lot of that dancing and fighting are 17-year-old Karissa Dempsey and 16-year-old Katrina Krajsek, who play Peter Pan and Wendy Darling, respectively. It’s a labour of love that they share — with each other, and with everyone working tirelessly to put the show together.
“Everyone’s putting in so much work into this production,” Krajsek said. “I’m really excited to see how it’s going to turn out because it is a big one. Musicals are always big at our school.”
Dempsey said she’s confident that everyone’s hard work will pay off.
“It’s a lot of time and a lot of hard work and you have to really be balanced between your schoolwork and after school, because we’re here until six o’clock every day. But it really is so fulfilling. When you step out on stage and you do the dress rehearsals or the final performances, it just feels good. You’re like, I did this, I memorized all these lines — which is something I never thought I could be able to do.”
“There’s so much stress and work that goes into it and I know that the end product is going to be absolutely amazing and there’s going to be so much pride from everybody,” Dempsey said.
“I really hope everyone is proud of themselves in the end, which [I’m sure] they will be.”
“Just being on stage, it feels so great. I used to not be a confident person, but onstage I feel like I’m [really] myself. I feel confident, I feel good about myself even though I’m playing a different character who isn’t quite me.”
For Dempsey, it will be her first time acting in a lead role in one of NDSS’s shows. And in some ways, she’s been preparing for the role for years.
“I’ve seen Peter Pan all throughout my childhood, whether it was the live action movie, the original [animated movie], I have books. [But] I never realized it was such a prominent part of my life,” she said. “It kind of feels like it’s been all leading up to this. And this is my final year, and I’ve finally gotten the lead I wanted. It feels like the puzzle pieces are connecting.”
“I was always debating between [auditioning for] Hook or Peter — I did want to go for a lead but I didn’t know which one. But something just kind of clicked in my mind that Peter Pan is what I wanted to be and I’m really, really glad I went for it.
“It’s a whole new experience. It’s exciting stress with it, but it’s so good to be in this position.”
Krajsek, meanwhile, has been in this position before, having played Anne in last year’s production of Anne of Green Gables. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting for her, nor the job she has to do any easier.
“Even though this is my second year doing it, it always feels like a new experience because it’s a new character, a different show,” she said.
For Krajsek, the play brings back memories of being a kid watching the classic Disney animated film and the Robin Williams movie Hook.
“Doing the show, it has kind of reminded me of when I was in elementary school or younger and I grew up with these characters and these movies. So I think it’s really cool that we’re really immersed in that now,” she said. “I think it’s really cool. It’s kind of connected in a way.”
In addition to Dempsey, Krajsek and the 40 or so other NDSS students set to trip the boards in Peter Pan, the cast also includes 16 elementary students from eight different North Delta schools.
Drawing part of the cast from local elementary schools for NDSS’s large musical productions is part of what makes the shows special, Inglin said, and helps to bolster a sense of community among the students.
“It’s nice because some of the elementary students that we had when we did Shrek two years ago, some of them are in Grade 8 now, so they have already been in a show. And some of them that were elementary students last year are still elementary students … and they’ve joined us again. So it’s really neat, it builds quite a nice community.”
Peter Pan: The Musical plays Feb. 19-21 at North Delta Secondary (11447 82nd Ave.). Tickets – $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors – are available at eventbrite.com or by calling the school at 604-596-7471.