We had the opportunity of a lifetime to see the Broadway musical "Finding Neverland," and it certainly did not disappoint. As the curtains opened, so did our jaws as we gazed in amazement at the magic before our eyes. Sparks flew, literally, as Tinker Bell flitted gracefully through the air, and the crowd went silent. The show was about to begin.
"Finding Neverland" is not the story you think you all know. It parallels the wondrous classic tale as it dives deeper into the life of J.M. Barrie (played by Matthew Morrison) a playwright whose occupation doesn't satisfy his inner child's yearning to be set free. He meets the Davies boys -- George (Sawyer Nunes), Michael (Alex Dreier), Peter (Aidan Gemme) and Jack (Christopher Paul Richards) -- and their exhausted, yet loving mother, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Laura Michelle Kelly). George, Michael and Jack are adventurous, imaginative and up for a good time battling pirates across the seven seas with J.M. But Peter is too sad to join in after the death of his father.
J.M. teaches them all how to regain the happiness lost in the challenges that they have had to face. With troubles at work, problems at home, and an unconquerable love for Sylvia, J.M's life is a merry-go-round. When the unimaginable happens, he gains newly found confidence in the sanctuary of his new play.
It wasn't just the quality of the plot that brought us to tears, but the quality of the actors and the behind-the scenes action too. "Finding Neverland" features many heartfelt songs. The lyrics and melodies dare your emotions to fly out and challenge your heart to feel something never felt before. "It Matters to Me" mattered to everyone in the audience, and "Stronger" made us all feel stronger. These mesmerizing vocal miracles were our favorite part of the play. Not to mention all the special effects, such as people flying and glitter flying as well. Without these stunning effects, the play wouldn't have been nearly as extraordinary. The fish nets, waves and stormy seas made you believe that you were stranded on an island.
Our overall reaction could have been no better. Everything about it was done to perfection. Even the child actors were great. The amount of effort put in bled into the theater as we watched in awe. In the words of Sylvia: "We forgot to breathe."
We give it five smiles.
It is playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. For more information: luntfontannetheatre.com