PHS students ready to present ‘Peter Pan’

By Sarah Meyer: PNT Staff Writer

The cast of “Peter Pan and Wendy” is ready to fly.

The Portales High School production premieres tonight, but the performers have been on stage in front of school audiences this week.

“I think we’re finally ready,” said student teacher DeAnna Gonzales, who is directing the play. “I was a little worried and some of the students were worried last week.”

High school senior Ethan Ortega encouraged the choice of “Peter Pan and Wendy,” said Bill Strong, head of the PHS drama department. Ortega bugged Strong about the play ever since he was a sophomore.

Last year Ortega did a design project related to Peter Pan, Strong said. “It was excellent. So I said, ‘OK, we’ll go ahead and do it.’”

The production is a new adaptation by Doug Rand of the novel by J.M. Berry.

“It’s very different from the Disney version,” Gonzales said.

Ortega said Peter Pan is a favorite family movie, but he’s also fascinated by the technical aspects of the production, which includes flying and six full scene changes.

“It’s an incredibly technical show, and that’s my favorite thing to do,” he said.

Auditions for the two-hour play started soon after school opened in August, and set building started during auditions, Ortega said.

“It’s very interesting to see how things are coming together,” Gonzales said. “I’ve just been really amazed at how committed the high school students are.”

She said she’s given the actors notes on what they need to do to improve, and sees the students making the changes.

“When we have an audience, the students perform at a different level,” Gonzales said. “It’s so much fun to see the end product as opposed to the rehearsal.”

Ortega said half the available tickets for each show already have sold out.

“We’re hoping to have a huge crowd,” he said.

The cast includes two Lindsey Elementary students, two home-schooled students, and a student from Dora, Gonzales said. “It’s more of a community production than a high school production,” she said.

‘Peter Pan and Wendy’

Show times: 7 p.m. today and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Portales High School Performing Arts Center

Admission: $5