Richard Paige — Sometimes, it’s just meant to be, and so it was with the upcoming production of Peter and the Starcatcher.
Wabash College is the first collegiate theater company in Indiana to produce the show on campus. The rights for the play that won five Tony Awards came open this year, and Assistant Professor of Theater Jessie Mills acted fast.
“I’ve had my eye on it for a while so we scooped it up when we had the chance,” she said. “Needless to say, I thought it would be a lot of fun for our students and a big change of pace.”
As it turns out, Mills also had someone in mind to play the boy who never grew up, one best suited to handle the ragged and chaotic style that has become this musical play’s calling card.
Rory Willats ’17 is just that guy. He is no stranger to the Wabash stage, having occupied supporting roles in more than a handful of Wabash productions, but Peter and the Starcatcher will be his first leading role.
“I really think this is a role perfectly suited to me,” Willats said, “which is not to say that this process is a walk in the park by any means. Because it’s a high-energy, physical show and because there are parts of the boy I can see in myself, it isn’t at all easy for me. It’s also the first time in my career that I’m able to wrestle with a role in a show like this.”
The curtain rises on Peter and the Starcatcher on Oct. 5, and Mills is confident that Rory will inject something new into the prequel of Peter Pan, a story which nearly everyone is familiar.
“He is perfect in the role of Peter – a character who is as boyish and optimistic as he is frightened and vulnerable,” said Mills. “Rory has done a wonderful job pulling out the depth of complexities in Peter. I’m excited for audiences to see his performance.”