Published on July 12, 2016
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. In 2014, the musical was broadcast on NBC featuring several new numbers, and starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken. The show has enjoyed several revivals onstage.
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous young boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the island of Neverland as the leader of the Lost Boys, interacting with fairies, pirates, mermaids, Native Americans, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside Neverland. In addition to two distinct works by Barrie, the character has been featured in a variety of media and merchandise, both adapting and expanding on Barrie’s works. These include a 1953 animated film, a 2003 dramatic/live-action film, a TV series and many other works.
J. M. Barrie first used Peter Pan as a character in a section of The Little White Bird (1902), an adult novel where he appears as a seven-day-old baby in the chapter entitled Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Following the success of the 1904 play, Barrie’s publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, extracted chapters 13–18 of The Little White Bird and republished them in 1906 under the title Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, with the addition of illustrations by Arthur Rackham.
He returned to the character of Peter Pan as the centre of his stage play entitled Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, which premiered on 27 December 1904 in London. Barrie later adapted and expanded the play’s story line as a novel, published in 1911 as Peter and Wendy.