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Workshop may catch ‘Starcatchers’

Off Broadway org, Disney Theatrical in talks for 'Peter' prequel

The Disney-developed “Peter Pan” prequel “Peter and the Starcatchers” could get a New York preem at Off Broadway’s New York Theater Workshop in 2011.

Neither NYTW nor Disney Theatrical Prods. would confirm, but insiders say the two orgs are in discussion for a potential staging of “Peter” produced by the Off Broadway company.

Disney’s legit arm has developed the property by shepherding it through a series of preliminary incarnations, but it’s said the org would not be credited as a producer of “Peter.”

Such an arrangement would echo the one made for the show’s 2009 developmental staging, which was produced by the La Jolla Playhouse as part of its Page to Stage program. No critics were allowed to review that run, but industry buzz was favorable.

“Peter” reps a notable shift in producing strategy for a legit title generated by Disney, whose New York stage output is mostly associated with big-budget Broadway tuners such as “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King” and “Mary Poppins.”

Unlike those large-scale spectacles, “Peter” is, by all accounts, a more moderately scaled offering — one that seems a better fit (at least initially) for an Off Broadway staging at a smaller venue like NYTW, rather than a splashy Broadway incarnation.

It’s said the creatives involved in the La Jolla production remain attached to the project, although that has not been confirmed. In La Jolla, Roger Rees and Alex Timbers directed a script by Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys,” “The Addams Family”). Music is by Wayne Barker, with lyrics by Elice.

Storyline of “Peter” reveals the backstory of the cast of characters of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan.” Show is based on the 2004 novel of the same name, penned by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and published by Disney division Hyperion.

The exact arrangement between NYTW and Disney Theatrical isn’t clear. But it seems a near certainty that Disney would be involved in any commercial transfer should “Peter” prove successful at NYTW.

If the Off Broadway staging materializes, “Peter” would be the second potentially attention-grabbing offering on tap at NYTW from a high-profile source. The company recently announced a production of an untitled new musical from “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, lined up for an engagement that would begin in August.

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