Peter Pan is a musical adaptation of J. M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan and Barrie's own novelization of it, Peter and Wendy. The music is mostly by Mark "Moose" Charlap, with additional music by Jule Styne, and most of the lyrics were written by Carolyn Leigh, with additional lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
The original 1954 Broadway production, starring Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook, earned Tony Awards for both stars. It was followed by NBC telecasts of it in 1955, 1956, and 1960 with the same stars, plus several rebroadcasts of the 1960 telecast. The show has enjoyed several revivals onstage.
Music by Jule Styne, Mark Charlap and Trude Rittman (dance arrangements)
Lyrics by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Carolyn Leigh
Book by Sir James M. Barrie
'Peter Pan' tells the story of a mischievous little boy who refuses to grow up. Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as leader of his gang, the Lost Boys. The show's adventures begin when Peter teaches Wendy and her brothers how to fly and invites them to come with him to Never-Never-Land.
The well-known story of Peter Pan, the boy who does not wish to grow up, and his adversary Captain Hook, was first created by the author James M. Barrie in a two-act play. Barrie's work was performed along with a small score of incidental music that was composed by John Crook. A few, short songs were also included in the presentations of Peter Pan, the play. The stage musical version of Peter Pan (1954) was only able to be produced after the death of Barrie, who throughout his life, held firm to his belief that his play should never be adapted for the show stage. He had even written scripts for musicals before, but not for Peter Pan. Various productions of the play during the author's lifetime used more music than he would have liked though. This was only possible because of the presence of the small score, that Barrie preferred, in the original version. At the time of Barrie's death, the handlers of his estate would not allow producers to move forward on any adaptation of Peter Pan, but they would eventually relinquish the rights of the play. First, in 1953, an animated movie musical version of Peter Pan was created, which is the standard in America of the Peter Pan story, although it largely differs from Barrie's play in tone. The score of the animated movie was jointly composed by Sammy Cahn and Sammy Fain.
The success of this first major adaptation of Barrie's play essentially guaranteed the same for any Broadway musical version of Peter Pan. Edwin Lester was able to garner the production rights to the story from Barrie's estate, and he soon brought on Jerome Robbins to stage and direct the show. Initially, Lester and Robbins agreed to hold truer to Barrie's original vision than the animated movie. The songs would not be lavish dance numbers and only a small musical score would be used. For this, Carolyn Leigh served as the lyricist, and Mark Charlap composed the music. The creative team later decided that their musical needed to be more conventional, and so, more songs and scoring were added. The additional material's lyrics were written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The additional music was composed by Jule Styne.
The original Broadway production first played at the Winter Garden Theater on October 20, 1954, with Mary Martin in the starring role as Peter Pan. Cyril Ritchard also appeared, portraying Captain Hook. Although the show only lasted for a run of 152 performances, it found success after, as it was broadcast for the next two years, and subsequently made into a film for television. In 1979, Peter Pan experienced a revival on Broadway, which won over audiences for 554 performances. This version was especially exciting due to the mid-air theatrics of Sandy Duncan, who as Peter Pan, was whisked around the theater on nearly-invisible cables. Later, Peter Pan was seen on Broadway once again, as former Olympian Cathy Rigby starred in this 1991 production.