“Peter Pan” prequel “Peter and the Starcatchers,” a legit offering being developed by Disney Theatrical Prods., will get its first public showcase in a no-critics run next spring as part of the Page to Stage program at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego.
Characterized as a moderately scaled play with music — rather than a big-budget tuner along the lines of Disney’s stage versions of “The Lion King” and “The Little Mermaid” — “Peter” is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Plot of the book, published by Disney division Hyperion, reveals the backstory of the cast of characters of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan.”
Rick Elice, co-writer of the book for “Jersey Boys” and a creative consultant at Disney Theatrical, penned the script for “Peter.” Thesp-helmer Roger Rees directs, with Alex Timbers, a.d. of downtown Gotham troupe Les Freres Corbusier, credited as co-director.
Show is not the only Pan-themed project bound for the boards. The legit arm of the Weinstein Co. is at work on a musical version of “Finding Neverland,” about Barrie himself, skedded for 2010.
La Jolla’s Page to Stage series gives new scripts a three-week developmental run to which critics are not invited. Program alums include Aaron Sorkin’s “The Farnsworth Invention,” Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays” and Doug Wright’s “I am My Own Wife,” all of which went on to stints of the Rialto, with both “Sundays” and “Wife” picking up Tonys.
Beyond the Page to Stage engagement, no further production plans have yet been made for “Peter.” Presented at La Jolla by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical, show runs Feb. 13-March 8.