The Stars of Peter and the Starcatcher


Photo by Luke Borgmann

The cast of Peter and the Starcatcher.

Peter and the Starcatcher debuted April 5-7.  It provided the origin story of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and many of the magical character of Neverland.  All three nights were a huge success.  Usually with musicals and plays, upperclassmen are given the lead roles.  But the two main leads in Peter and the Starcatcher, Molly Aster and Peter Pan, were given to underclassmen, Erin Bell (10) and Hayden Rooney (9).  The reason for this uncommon casting was because the characters of the play needed to look younger.

Photo by Luke Borgmann
Erin Bell performing in the play.

Erin Bell has always loved performing.  She has fond memories of watching actors, wishing she was one of them.  She wanted to be admired by people.  Bell has some performing experience.  “I’ve been in a middle school musical in 8th grade at Lux and had a small role in the one act play this year.”  She is also involved in show choir here at East.  Auditions were in February and Bell decided to try for the lead.  Bell added, “but I was willing to play any part.”  She had a good feeling about the auditions and was so excited when she found out she had got the part.

When she began auditions, Bell said, “The easiest part was showing up.”  Erin Bell had been working hard to perfect her role.  She explained how she struggled on memorizing her lines, blocking on stage, and balancing it with all her other school work and activities.  But one on the hardest things to nail for Bell were the kiss scenes with Peter.  She recalled that she’s not much of an experienced kisser and felt awkward doing it the first few times.  Things she gained by doing this play are a british accent she’s proud of and becoming more confident.  She was so excited for people to see the play because she believes that all the actors were casted perfectly.

Photo by Luke Borgmann
Hayden Rooney performing in the play.

Hayden Rooney hadn’t had a lot of previous performing experience.  The one thing he could recall was being a part of a small one act production in middle school.  As this is his first year in high school, Rooney told me, “I decided to go big or go home.”  So he auditioned for the lead.   Hayden worked very hard and put in all his effort.  And because of that, he was casted as Peter Pan.

Similarly to Bell, there really is no easy part of being the lead of a play.  “There is lots of big acting in the play,” Rooney said.  All he wanted was for everything to be perfect.  He talked about how it’s important to control your stress.  Unlike Bell, he wasn’t as nervous for the kiss in the play.  He told her, “You aren’t kissing Peter, Molly is.”  His favorite parts of rehearsal were having a good time reading through the play with the cast and getting into character.  Hayden recalled, “the play is very funny and everyone has a good time reading through it.”  He also stated that being in the play has taught him a lot of information for future productions and projecting his voice.

Both high school actors worked very hard during the whole process of producing Peter and the Starcatcher.  The play brought tears to both the audience and the cast members on their last performance of the year. Although they were underclassmen, they performed just as well as any junior or senior.  It’s obvious that the future of East’s theater department looks very bright.

Photo by Luke Borgmann
Erin Bell and Hayden Rooney.