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Theatre / Peter and the Starcatcher

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Peter and the Starcatcher is a play by Rick Elice that is based on the 2004 novel Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The play premiered in 2009 in California at the La Jolla Playhouse and opened on Broadway in 2012. It was nominated for 9 Tony Awards and won 5.

The play provides the backstory for several characters from James M. Barrie's Peter Pan, including Peter, Hook, and Tinker Bell.

Peter and the Starcatcher provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Peter Pan himself. The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up begins his adventure as an abused, traumatized, and misanthropic orphan who only wants a chance to live the childhood stolen away from him by the terrible adults in his life.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Most of Betty Bumbrake's lines involve this.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Black Stache has this in spades, especially when portrayed by Christian Borle. He's outright described in the text as being "effeminate", and he acts very much Camp Gay, on top of not seeming too fond of women and being very touchy with some of the other men (most notably Smee and Lord Aster).
    • It's also worth noting that in response to Stache asking what "the men" call him, Smee responds with "Nancy", which is an old-fashioned slang term for an effeminate man, but it generally referred to homosexuals.
  • Anachronism Stew: Though the play takes place in 1885, the dialogue includes many anachronisms used for comedic effect, including use of the acronym 'TTFN', references to the Cadillac Escalade, Ayn Rand, Marcel Proust and Philip Glass, among others. Curiously, the vast majority of the anachronisms present are made by Black Stache.
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  • An Arm and a Leg: This is something of a Foregone Conclusion, since Black Stache is destined to become Captain Hook.
  • Badass Mustache: Black Stache is named for his.
  • Big "OMG!": Black Stache, when he loses his hand. Bonus points for the sheer number of OMGs dropped, going from pain to rapid-fire to valley girl to an entire faux talk-show anecdote to "ermahgerd" to more pain to a few really big ones at the end.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Black Stache observes that the people in the audience "have paid for nannies and parking".
  • Canon Character All Along: Besides the obvious, Molly Aster is revealed at the very end of the play to be Wendy Darling's mother.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Black Stache.
  • Child Hater: Black Stache.
  • Chorus Girls: The mermaids' Vaudeville-style song-and-dance number at the beginning of the second act often parodies this.
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  • Evil Is Hammy: Black Stache.
  • Friendless Background: Both Molly and the Boy, as laid out in the opening scene.
  • Green Rocks: As in the original novel, starstuff can do whatever magical thing the plot demands, including making people fly, extending life, and transforming ordinary animals into mythological creatures.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: Molly and her father communicate privately in Dodo, Porpoise and Norse code (a system used by ancient Vikings that is similar to Morse code).
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Ted realizes they've been fed worms.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: Molly's name means "Squid Poop" in the Mollusks' language.
  • Irrelevant Act Opener: The mermaids open the second act with a Vaudeville-style song-and-dance number.
  • Leader Wannabe: Prentiss declares himself to be the leader of the orphans, because he is the oldest. But he never actually leads.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: The show is written for a dozen actors who portray more than a hundred characters.
  • MacGuffin: The trunk of starstuff.
  • Made a Slave: Fighting Prawn's backstory.
  • The Nameless: Boy, who eventually takes the name Peter.
  • Obsessed with Food: Ted, who faints at the mere mention of sticky pudding.
  • Orphanage of Fear: St. Norbert’s Orphanage for Lost Boys.
  • Pirate: Much of the cast. It is a prequel to Peter Pan, after all.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The actress who plays Molly is usually the only female cast member.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Boy and Molly, because he becomes immortal and she is forced to leave him behind in Neverland, returning to England where she will eventually get married. As Boy's character description puts it: "If he could grow up, he'd fall for Molly in a big way. But it'll never happen."

Example of: