Students fly into the Aronoff Center with ‘Peter Pan’

FAIRFIELD – Cincinnati Christian Schools will bring Peter Pan to the Jarson-Kaplan Theatre at the Aronoff Center from Wednesday, March 4 through Saturday, March 7.

According to Wayne Beaver, director and head of the Cincinnati Christian Schools Arts department, the students are flying for the first time.

“I am proud of the fact that when this challenge came up, of doing something as complicated as flying, the students didn’t bat an eye,” Beaver said. “They were ready to go and had no doubt about their ability to handle the challenge.”

Members of the cast received professional flight training, sword training and dialect training to prepare for their various roles in the spring musical, he said, In January, some of the CCS Peter Pan cast traveled ZFX Flying Effects in Louisville, Ky., for professional training on how to fly.

“Another thing I am really proud about with this show is that I have a student choreographer, Hope Krieger, who is choreographing the entire show. There are 14 different dance elements in this show,” Beaver said.

There are about 60 students cast in the performance, which is Beaver’s 47th production. An additional 20 students are working behind the scenes. Rehearsals began right before Christmas and the cast has put in about 150 hours of rehearsal time.

“We always have a good team chemistry in the drama department. These students have watched the upperclassmen before them succeed, and they’ve watched how that works. Just like in other classes, they have picked up the baton and ran with it,” Beaver said.

Hannah Smith, 18, a senior from Hamilton, who plays Peter Pan, said the biggest reason she wanted to play the role is because of the flying, but she also loves to sing. She said the song “I’m Flying” is one of her favorites.

“I am actually flying while I am singing the song,” Smith said. “I think that will probably be my favorite part of the show. The singing has been one of the biggest surprises for me. I wasn’t expecting to have as many songs as I do, but I love it. That has definitely been a bonus.”

Bernadette Beacham, a sophomore from Fairfield Twp. who acts as Wendy, said the leading role is a natural fit for her with some of the character traits she portrays in being able to love on The Lost Boys and care for them.

“I must say, Wendy is one of my favorite roles to play, because she gets to be nice and sweet to everybody, and really loving and caring. For me, I’d rather be a loving, caring person than a rude person, so I enjoy being Wendy,” Beacham said.

“I personally feel like I’m a warm, loving, kind and caring person. I, as Bernadette, really like being their friend. Just the fact that I get to be their friend on stage, in the performance, too, is so much fun for me.”

Alex Dunman, 17, a junior from Fairfield, plays Captain Hook. One thing he’s had to work on in his role is to perfect talking and singing with an accent.

“I feel like I fit the part, because I prefer to play evil roles,” Dunman said. “He’s a very evil character as well as a funny character. I feel like I can show the humor, while showing the evilness in a sense. Also, when it comes to the singing, his voice is similar to mine and that helps me portray him better.”

Audiences can expect a quality high school show, Dunman said, because the entire cast is always committed to striving for excellence.

“I believe everyone in the cast is superb, and will do an amazing job. We like to credit ourselves as a drama department, because we always say, ‘Good enough is not good enough,’ and we’re never going to be good enough, because we can always make ourselves better. I’m hoping people understand that when they come to see the show,” Dunman said.

Tickets for the show are $20 for the 7 p.m. performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There will be 10 a.m. matinee performances on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. (Wednesday is the dress rehearsal.) Tickets are $10 for the a.m. performances.

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