NEW YORK — Plenty of VIPs have come backstage to cheer the cast of “Peter and the Starcatcher.” The prequel to “Peter Pan” has attracted the likes of Tyra Banks, Clive Owen, Anna Wintour and Bill Gates.
But two celebrities have really stood out — Sandy Duncan and Cathy Rigby. That’s right: Two iconic Peter Pans have come to throw their support behind the latest one.
“It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen and I don’t usually gush but I’m protective of the part because I love it so much,” said Rigby, who saw it Oct. 14. Duncan caught it — for the second time — three days before. “I can’t say enough about it,” she said.
The inventive show, adapted by “Jersey Boys” co-writer Rick Elice from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s best-selling 2004 children’s adventure book, tells the story of how an English orphan became Peter Pan.
It digs into a story that both Duncan and Rigby have thought a lot about. Duncan, 66, played Peter more than 550 times on Broadway starting in 1979 and then took her role out on tour. She estimates she’s played the boy who won’t grow up at least 1,000 times.
Rigby, 59, has never really left the role, playing it on Broadway in 1990, then taking it on tour from 1998-99, which led to another tour from 2004-05, and has been on the road since 2011. She just took it to Macau, where she learned to say “Do you believe in fairies?” in Chinese.
While “Peter and the Starcatcher” features 12 actors in 20 scenes playing 50 characters, the nights Duncan and Rigby came by were perhaps most stressful for Adam Chanler-Berat, who plays Peter.
“It felt like Peter was out there watching me do Peter,” says Chanler-Berat. “Sometimes, to motivate yourself, you pretend like the person that you’re playing is out there in the audience that night and in some ways it felt like that.”