Trey McIntyre's Peter Pan

Closing the 2012/13 season, Houston Ballet presented Trey McIntyre’s enchanting three-act work Peter Pan. Based on the popular story by Sir James M. Barrie, the ballet is set to the music of Sir Edward Elgar in an arrangement by Niel DePonte.  With elaborate, magical sets by Houston Ballet Director of Production Thomas Boyd and imaginative costumes by Broadway designer Jeanne Button, the production reinterprets the classic story with verve and wit for the new millennium. Peter Pan features spectacular flying sequences, swashbuckling swordfights, giant puppets, colorful masks, and costumes inspired by punk fashion. Mr. McIntyre’s Peter Pan is told from a child’s perspective, which is evident in the set design and costumes.  Many set pieces have a playful sense of scale, representing a pint-sized person’s perspective. The ballet opens with seven-foot, larger-than-life nannies wheeling in huge buggies. Mr. and Mrs. Darling, who wear stiff masks, seem cold and imposing; in this retelling, the adults seem far removed and somewhat frightening.

. . . [Trey McIntyre] tackled it [Peter Pan] with invention, a sure dramatic instinct, and a very special sensibility.

Dance Magazine



Peter Pan, Wendy, Captain Hook, John, Michael, Tinkerbell

Act I

The Darling Home

When the Darling children were born, they were left in the care of nursemaids. From their tiny perspective, the nurses are vicious giants capable of horrible acts. But the four Darling children – Wendy, John, Michael and Peter – don’t worry much because Fairies visit their nursery regularly, making them feel safe. (Early in his life, young Peter Darling made the dreadful mistake of falling out of his carriage and was swept away with the garbage!)

One evening, Mr. and Mrs. Darling come to bid Wendy, John and Michael good night. They are on their way to a party, leaving the children in the care of their new nursemaid, Liza. Wendy dreams that she is dancing among the shadows. Her dream turns into a nightmare, but Wendy is saved by a mysterious shadow that seems somehow familiar to her. She is awakened from her dream by a bright light that darts about the room and into her dresser. As she investigates, a wild boy with a mane of great red hair bursts into the room. He is the same age as Wendy, and introduces himself as Peter Pan. John and Michael wake up, and begin to play with Peter. The dresser drawer begins to rumble, and Peter explains that it is a tiny fairy named Tinkerbell. Then Peter and the three young Darling children set off for Neverland.


Act II


Peter Pan returns to Neverland with Wendy and the boys in tow. The Lost Boys beg Peter to recount his adventures, and he dazzles them with wild stories. They quickly welcome the Darling children into their tribe. They ask Wendy to be their mother, and she happily obliges. Neverland becomes the scene of a raucous, joyous celebration.

Later in the evening, Captain Hook and his pirate crew plot to capture one of the enchanting mermaids. They capture the most beautiful mermaid, but her cries quickly awaken Peter and the others. A great battle ensues, with the Lost Boys ultimately prevailing.

            The Lost Boys make their way into to their hideout and prepare for bed. Wendy reflects longingly on her home and the parents she has left behind. The Lost Boys decide they want to visit her homeland. Unable to understand why Wendy is unhappy, Peter becomes furious, and throws them all out.

            The pirates kidnap the Lost Boys and the Darling children, one by one, as they leave the hideout. Captain Hook personally greets Wendy and begs her sympathy by showing her a film of his childhood, in which his awful schoolteacher beat him on the wrist every time he made a mistake. His hand eventually mangled into a hook shape. (This is actually not a film, but a play – a ruse in which Hook has his own son, James, stand in for him!) Wendy is much too smart, however, to fall for Hook's ploy, and the pirates tie her up and bring her back to the ship. Hook then sends his son James to Peter Pan's hideout to tempt him into a game of hide and seek. James eventually succeeds in luring Peter from his hiding place.



Captain Hook’s Ship

As the pirates dance wildly to celebrate their victory, James contemplates his nefarious deeds.  Hook tries to lure the Darling children into joining his crusade, but they refuse. He ties them up and abuses them with tales of the horrible things he will do to them. Hook, who hates all children, even mistreats his own son James, as do the rest of the pirates. Hook becomes so distracted with his soliloquy that he doesn't notice when Peter sneaks on board.

            A battle begins, and the Lost Boys quickly gain the upper hand. Sensing the possibility of defeat, Hook tries to escape with Wendy, but Peter intervenes and challenges him to a duel. Hook fights arrogantly, making a great show of his ease, but Peter ultimately triumphs over him -- with some unexpected assistance.

            The Darling children go home and reunite with their parents. Although Peter returns to try to lure Wendy back to Neverland, she refuses. She takes her place in her mother's rocking chair, reflecting on her adventures with Peter as she grows older and has children and a family of her own.


Trey McIntyre

Choreographer, Peter Pan

Trey McIntyre is one of the most sought-after choreographers working today. Born in Wichita, Kansas, McIntyre has created a canon of more than 90 works for companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Stuttgart Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, New York City Ballet and Ballet de Santiago (Chile). He served as Choreographic Associate for Houston Ballet from 1989-2008 and Resident Choreographer for Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet Memphis and The Washington Ballet before forming his acclaimed Trey McIntyre Project in 2008 based in Boise, Idaho. In 2010, McIntyre was named the United States Artists Wynn Fellow. He has received the Gold Medal of Lifetime Achievement from the National Society of Arts and Letters. He has also received two choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography, was named one of Dance Magazine's “25 to Watch” in 2001, one of People Magazine's “25 Hottest Bachelors” in 2003, and one of Out Magazine's 2008 “Tastemakers.” The New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay said of McIntyre, “...There's a fertility of invention and a modernity of spirit here that are all Mr. McIntyre's own.” The Los Angeles Times wrote, “...There is indeed such a thing as genuine 21st century ballet, and it belongs more to this guy from Wichita than any of the over-hyped pretenders from England, France or Russia.” And in August 2012, The Boston Globe stated, “In a field overflowing with aspiring dance makers, Trey McIntyre continues to stand apart from—and at times far above—the crowd.” Focusing primarily on TMP, McIntyre spends his time creating works that explore the human experience in transformative and captivating ways, while he constantly seeks and implements new ways to engage audiences in the experience of art. On January 16, 2014, it was announced that McIntyre would move the Trey McIntyre Project towards new artistic ventures, reducing his efforts in dance. The company revealed a press release explaining that McIntyre, after contributing heavily to the dance world, is interested in exploring other art forms, specifically film and visual arts. He will continue to create pieces on a freelance basis but the dance aspect of Trey McIntyre Project is downsizing as he makes room for other artistic projects.

Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

Composer, Peter Pan

Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924. Although Elgar is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Roman Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he was acutely sensitive about his humble origins even after he achieved recognition. He nevertheless married the daughter of a senior British army officer. She inspired him both musically and socially, but he struggled to achieve success until his forties, when after a series of moderately successful works his Enigma Variations (1899) became immediately popular in Britain and overseas. He followed the Variations with a choral work, The Dream of Gerontius (1900), based on a Roman Catholic text that caused some disquiet in the Anglican establishment in Britain, but it became, and has remained, a core repertory work in Britain and elsewhere. His later full-length religious choral works were well received but have not entered the regular repertory. In his fifties, Elgar composed a symphony and a violin concerto that were immensely successful. His second symphony and his cello concerto did not gain immediate public popularity and took many years to achieve a regular place in the concert repertory of British orchestras. Elgar's music came, in his later years, to be seen as appealing chiefly to British audiences. His stock remained low for a generation after his death. It began to revive significantly in the 1960s, helped by new recordings of his works. Some of his works have, in recent years, been taken up again internationally, but the music continues to be played more in Britain than elsewhere. Elgar has been described as the first composer to take the gramophone seriously. Between 1914 and 1925, he conducted a series of acoustic recordings of his works. The introduction of the microphone in 1925 made far more accurate sound reproduction possible, and Elgar made new recordings of most of his major orchestral works and excerpts from The Dream of Gerontius.


Peter Pan Repertory History

This was Houston Ballet’s third time performing Trey McIntyre’s Peter Pan as part of its main season. Previous works by Trey McIntyre in Houston Ballet’s repertory include Skeleton Clock, Curupira, Touched, Second Before the Ground, Bound, and The Shadow.

Peter Pan Production Details


GENRE: Full-length Classical Ballet

RUN TIME: Ballet in 3 Acts; approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes

COMPOSER: Sir Edward Elgar


SCORE: “Peter Pan”

ORIGINAL PREMIERE DATE: March 14, 2002 in Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas


SET DESIGN: Thomas Boyd

LIGHTING DESIGN: Christina R. Giannelli

BALLET MASTER (2013): Steven Woodgate

STAGERS FOR HOUSTON BALLET (2013): Dawn Scannell, Christina Johnson, Brett Perry

HOUSTON BALLET ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR (2013): Ermanno Florio with Guest Conductor Craig Kier

HOUSTON BALLET STAGE MANAGER (2013):  Michelle Elliott


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