A dog, an overgrown boy, and four Darlings of "Finding Neverland"
Thomas Wolfe was wrong; one can return to Neverland. This past full week of theater openings included (unprecedented for this review site) a re-visit to a previously praised production, namely ART's musical "Finding Neverland". Amazingly, on second seeing it became apparent that the play and its players have deepened, improved, grown. Without exception, every member of the cast bettered her or his prior efforts. More profound familiarity with their roles has resulted in nuances simmering just beneath the surface. The score seems, on second hearing, even more beautifully integrated into this charming and charmed creation. Jeremy Jordan continues to astonish, Laura Michelle Kelly shines even more lustrously than before, and Michael McGrath's punch lines land just as freshly and perfectly as ever. The boys, Aidan Gemme, Alex Dreier, Sawyer Nunes and Hayden Signoretti, are even more captivating, and Paul Slade Smith as the aristocratic actor Mr.Henshaw was priceless. Special mention should be made of the Pluto-perfect performance of Thayne Jasperson as Porthos the dog, unaccountably not singled out when the production was first reviewed here; he's so believable he's easy to take for granted, but hysterically funny. The show is with us for just another two weeks and has been selling out, but they do sell standing room midday (the day of performance). One piece of advice: Stand for it!