Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hook ‘em and Fly at the Wyly

Hook ‘em and Fly at the Wyly
by Jayne Herring

There are musicals and plays, shows for children and for adults, contemporary and classic, nostalgic and modern. But sometimes good theater is just good theater, transcending all genres, and all I kept thinking Friday night was that Dallas Theater Center’s show Fly is just damn good theater. This is by no means a review, just a call for Dallas to realize what it has while it has it, before Broadway steals it away, which I very much expect it to do. It is a brand new show, directed by multiple Tony-Award winner Jeffrey Seller and based on the classic J. M. Barrie novel Peter Pan. But lest you think this version is anything like previous adaptations, I assure you it is not.

Mogan Weed as Tink
Readers of this blog will love Tink, the fashionably connected and mischievous fairy who is better at stirring up trouble than anything else, and who looks fabulous while doing it. I spent quite a bit of time coveting her shoes and considering begging to borrow them for next year's DIFFA, until I saw the gown on Mami Wata. (Just see the show so I don't have to explain who she is, but she and the set that surrounds her evoke some of the best moments I have seen on Broadway; Wicked's flying Elphaba has nothing on this.) I'm just saying, if that gown becomes available to the public, I call dibs.

The beautiful Benetton ad cast of "trees" made me want to triple up on my dance classes and maybe even learn to drum. The pirates, led by New York actor Bradley Dean with a hook for a hand, made us all laugh regularly, often at things none of the under-18 set would understand but they seemed to enjoy him just as much.

One of the pirates looked familiar and I realized when reading his bio that he was the elevator operator in Pretty Woman, which apparently he gets recognized for a lot despite his impressive resume. The flying is breathtaking, creatively using the ropes in the gorgeous choreography rather than trying to hide them, and the whole show went off without a hitch, unlike other flight-heavy shows I’ve seen on the Great White Way.

I was lucky to get seats for opening night, especially since it was a packed house with a waiting list. Although DTC says it's "a musical for the whole family," they recommend it for children over 8, so I left my almost-5-year-old at home this time. Which is lucky for me, since now that I've seen it and deemed that she can not only handle it but will love it as well, I will get to see it at least twice.

Wyly Theatre interior
Because what is amazing is that it is very much a show for adults, with themes and talent and humor that will keep kids entertained while making us grown-ups think and dream and feel the elation and fear that these updated characters do. Much of this story is actually focused on a very modern and brave Wendy, played by a sassy 12-year old Isabela Moner with Broadway credits and a debut album soon to be released.

With a score by Bill Sherman, Rajiv Joseph, and Kirsten Childs, this is a brand new Peter Pan that is simply magical, overwhelmingly beautiful, and with a slightly dark and sexy edge. My only disappointment is that as this is a new show, there isn’t a soundtrack available to purchase yet; luckily the music is all still very much in my head. The show is not around for long, so here is your chance to get to brag to your friends around the country that you saw it first. Let me know if you need a date.

Fly runs through August 18th a the Wyly Theatre in the Dallas Arts District. Purchase tickets at

About the author: Jayne Chobot Herring

Jayne is an executive liaison from New York City who fell in love with a Texan and is now embracing everything about her new life in Dallas.  A passionate traveler, hostess, and mom to a sassy little girl, she is often over-caffeinated and always on the hunt for new & interesting. You can follow her adventures online @jayniemarie,and on her blog A Moveable Appentency