Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version)
Broadway's timeless classic musical whisks you away to a place where dreams are born and no one ever grows up!
Show Essentials
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Full Synopsis

Act One

While Mr. and Mrs. Darling are bustling about, preparing for an evening on the town, their two eldest children, Wendy and John, pretend to be them. Mrs. Darling finds her youngest, Michael, is left out of the game. She scoops him up and joins in while their nursemaid, the dog Nana, watches ("1, 2, 3"). Searching for someone to tie his tie, Mr. Darling enters and questions, as he always does, using a dog as a nursemaid. As she always does, Mrs. Darling defends Nana by pointing to the previous week when the furry companion alerted the family of a boy who had snuck into the room. Nana would have caught him, too, but he flew out the window. She did manage to catch his shadow, however, which Mrs. Darling tucked away in a drawer. Mr. Darling insists that Nana spend the night downstairs. To calm her babes, Mrs. Darling sings a lullaby that is eventually sleepily sung by the children ("Tender Shepherd").

Now fast asleep, the children don't notice Tinker Bell, a fairy, and Peter Pan's entrance by flight through the window. Tinker Bell leads Peter to his shadow's hiding place. Unable to reattach it successfully with soap, Peter begins to cry which wakes Wendy. Peter explains and Wendy offers to sew his shadow to his foot. Thrilled that his shadow is reattached, Peter bounces about the room ("I've Gotta Crow"). Peter then describes to Wendy the way fairies are born and die, leading him to introduce his fairy friend, Tinkerbell - who spent the last few minutes accidentally shut in the drawer where Peter's shadow was hidden. Whether it's her recent entrapment or her jealousy, Tinkerbell simply will not be polite.

Ever curious and adventuresome, Wendy asks Peter from where he comes. He describes the place where 'dreams are born and time is never planned' ("Never Never Land"). This is where Peter is the leader of a gang of forgotten children, known as The Lost Boys, to whom he tells the stories he hears Mrs. Darling tell her children before bedtime. Wendy offers that she will tell him and the Lost Boys all the stories she knows if Peter will let her, Michael, and John along to Never Land, to which Peter agrees. Wendy excitedly awakens her brothers and Peter teaches them all how to fly ("I'm Flying"). Peter then covers the kids in fairy dust and tells them to 'think lovely thoughts' and soon the children are flying just like Peter ("I'm Flying - Reprise"). The children follow Peter towards the second star to the right, but Michael doubles back when Liza comes into the room. Sprinkling her with fairy dust, Michael invites her along, but speeds away before he can see whether she will or not. They're off to Never Land!

Act Two

As Peter's Lost Boys stand outside their underground lair, wondering when their leader will return, they hear Captain Hook and his pirates approaching ("Pirate Song"). Quickly, the boys hide just in time to be missed by Captain James Hook, his sidekick Smee, and the rest of the horrible pirates. Hook exclaims his desperation to kill Peter because he is the one who cut off Hook's hand and threw it to a crocodile, which has developed a taste for Hook and follows him around hoping to eat more of him. Luckily for Hook, the crocodile has swallowed a clock that ticks and will alert Hook to its presence. During his soliloquy, Hook accidentally stumbles upon the entrance to the Lost Boys' hideout and summons Smee and his men to provide background music while he plans the Boys' demise: a rich cake with poisonous icing ("Hook's Tango"). Suddenly, the Croc's ticking can be heard and the pirates flee. Thinking they are safe, the Boys reemerge but are driven back into hiding when a group of Indians appear led by Tiger Lily ("Indians"). Leaving the Boys alone, the Indians pursue the pirates.

The Boys see Wendy flying through the sky and, confusing her for a bird, one of the Boys fires an arrow. Peter, Michael, and John land to find the arrow lodged in Wendy's heart. She's not dead but she cannot be moved into the hideout so the Lost Boys build a house around her, hoping that she will agree to be their mother ("Wendy"). When she wakes up, she gleefully agrees. Later Hook discretely returns and plants the cake, but Wendy thinks it too rich for the Boys; instead, she promises to tell them stories. Infuriated that the Boys have found a mother, Hook plots to kidnap Wendy and the Boys ("Tarantella").

Liza arrives just after the pirates leave and does a ballet with the animals of Never Land while Peter sleeps outside the house.

A few days later, Peter leads the Boys in their anthem ("I Won't Grow Up"). Then they almost run into the pirates, who arrive with Tiger Lily slung over their shoulders. Peter hides and, seeing them tie the poor princess to a tree, throws his voice in mimicry of the Captain and convinces the men to let her go. Not a moment later, Hook arrives, becomes enraged at the news of her release, and demands that the forest speak to him. Peter proceeds to convince the pirate gang that he is Hook, and the Captain they see before them is a codfish. The pirates abandon Hook, but Hook convinces the 'spirit' to reveal its true identity. Peter obliges, disguising himself as a beautiful lady ("Oh, My Mysterious Lady"). Catching onto this trick, Hook tries to ambush Peter with the help of the returned pirates but they are all chased away by Tiger Lily and her Indians.

Back at the hideout, The Lost Boys are roused to fighting positions as Tiger Lily and the Indians rush in. In the knick of time, Peter enters and reveals the truce between them and, smoking a peace pipe, they vow eternal friendship ("Ugg-a-Wugg"). Tiger Lily and her Indians leave to stand guard around the house above while Peter sings a lullaby to Wendy and the Boys ("Distant Melody"). This inspires Michael and John to ask to return home and Wendy admits being homesick, as well. When all The Boys voice a longing for parents, Wendy offers hers to all of them much to their excitement. Everyone's except Peter, who says he will not go because he knows he will grow up if he does. Wendy tells him she will come back once a year to do his spring cleaning.

Unbeknownst to those in the hideout, the pirates attack, subduing the Indians and giving Peter a fake all-clear signal. Peter sadly sends Wendy, her brothers, and the Lost Boys on their way. Before leaving, Wendy sets out Peter's medicine for him to take before bed. After she tearfully leaves, a deceivingly stoic Peter throws himself on a bed and cries himself to sleep, while simultaneously, Wendy and the boys are captured by the pirates. Once the boys and Wendy are carried off to the pirate ship, Hook sneaks into the lair and poisons Peter's medicine. Tinker Bell awakens Peter, tells him of the ambush, and warns him about the poison, but he waves her off as he prepares for a rescue. Desperate, she drinks the poison herself. Dying, she tells Peter that if every boy and girl who believes in fairies would clap their hands, she would live. Peter asks anyone who can hear his voice to believe and clap their hands. They do, and Tinker Bell is saved. Peter grabs his sword and heads off to rescue Wendy and the Boys.

Act Three

Hook revels in his success ("Hook's Waltz"). As the plank is prepared, Hook hears the tick-tock of the crocodile and panics. It is actually Peter with a clock and while Hook cowers, Peter and the Boys help the Indians, the animals and Liza onto the ship and hide. Peter hides in a closet and kills two pirates Hook sends in. The pirates then carry the Boys in and force the pretending-to-be-scared Boys to investigate. Peter, disguising himself as a pirate, sneaks among the villains and joins in with the pirates speculating that Peter killed all the Boys. Hook believes the ship is now cursed and, thinking Wendy is the source, commands she walk the plank. Peter ditches his disguise and the Indians and animals attack, as well as the Boys who are alive and armed. The pirates are entertainingly defeated, and Peter challenges Hook to a duel and defeats him. In a final effort to avenge his severed hand, Hook threatens to blow up the ship with a bomb, but Peter has brought the real crocodile on board. Frantically, Hook abandons ship. Peter catches the dropped bomb and tosses it in the sea after Hook. The bomb explodes. Everyone sings Peter's praises ("I've Gotta Crow [Reprise]"). Before everyone heads off to London, Liza asks Peter to teach her to crow ("I Gotta Crow - 2nd Reprise").

Back home, a worried Mr. and Mrs. Darling have waited by the nursery window every night hoping for their children to return. The children silently reappear and sing to their mother ("Tender Shepherd"). Joyous over their return, the Darlings happily agree to adopt the Lost Boys ("We Will Grow Up"). While the new gargantuan family celebrates, Wendy prays to the window that Peter will return to her.

Suddenly, we are at the same nursery only many years later. Much to the surprise of a grown up Wendy, Peter has returned. She informs him that she cannot come to Never Land for spring cleaning because she has grown up; she is married and has a daughter of her own now, Jane. Peter begins to cry and Wendy leaves the room at the sound of her husband's voice. Awaken by the boy's crying, Jane introduces herself to Peter and reveals that she knows him through her mother's stories. She has been waiting for him to come take her to Never Land and to learn to fly. Peter, now happy again, throws fairy dust on her. As they are about to leave, Wendy tries to stop them as she expresses a newfound desire to go back with Jane. Peter, however, reminds her that she is now grown up and cannot find Neverland; she must let Jane go. Peter and her daughter leap out the window and disappear into the night as Wendy looks on ("Finale: Never Never Land - Reprise").



Cast Size: Flexible Cast Size
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Wendy Darling
The eldest Darling child. Wendy is compassionate, incredibly loving, and very protective of her younger brothers. She is the child every parent wishes they had.
Gender: female
Age: 13 to 16
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: A3
John Napoleon Darling
The middle Darling child. A sly smile is always at home on John's face. He has a mischievous twinkle in his eye and is always ready for an adventure.
Gender: male
Age: 11 to 14
Vocal range top: D4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Michael Darling
The youngest Darling child. Never far from his favorite Teddy, Michael is sweet and innocent. He is ever so lovable and very huggable.
Gender: male
Age: 6 to 9
Vocal range top: D4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Mrs. Darling
The Darling matriarch. Mrs. Darling glides about gently but swiftly from task to task with motherly precision. She has a pleasant strength to her demeanor.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 45
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: D4
Mr. Darling
A bit of grouch, Mr. Darling is a professional who happens to be a father. Though sparkles of his love peak through from time to time, he often has places to go and people to see. He may be of imposing size.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 50
Vocal range top: E4
Vocal range bottom: C3
Peter Pan
Childhood and boyishness personified, Peter is athletic and not shy about taking to flight when the moment suits him. His reflexes are catlike and his presence exhilarating. A creature of constant motion.
Gender: male
Age: 14 to 14
Vocal range top: C4
Vocal range bottom: Eb2
Captain Hook
The one-handed captain of the Jolly-Roger. Relentless and restless in his pursuit of Pan, Hook is short-fused and ridiculous. He is a larger than life villain.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 50
Vocal range top: F#4
Vocal range bottom: C#3
Captain Hook's knockabout lackey. An archetypical evil side-kick, Smee might be a bit rotund and is definitely dwarfed by Hook. Should be portrayed by an actor with physical comedy chops.
Gender: male
Age: 28 to 48
Vocal range top: F#4
Vocal range bottom: D3
Tiger Lily
A striking Native American princess, Tiger Lily is a tough girl and an excellent dancer. She should command the stage when taking it and move about it as would mist.
Gender: female
Age: 14 to 17
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: Ab3
Indians; The Lost Boys; Pirates; Various Animals
Full Song List
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Overture
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Prologue
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Tender Shepherd
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): I Gotta Crow
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Neverland
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): I'm Flying
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Pirate March
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Hook's Tango
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Indian Dance
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Wendy
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Hook's Tarentella
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): I Won't Grow Up
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Oh, My Mysterious Lady
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Ugh-A-Wug
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Distant Melody
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Hook's Waltz
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Crow Reprise
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Grow Up Reprise
Peter Pan (1954 Bway Version): Finale Ultimo

Show History


Peter Pan is a musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie's play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. The immense success of Barrie's play prompted various amounts of adaptation on the story, including other plays. Edwin Lester, the founder and director of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera at the time, had obtained the American rights to the work and planned to produce an adaptation that added music for Mary Martin.

Directed by Jerome Robbins and with original music by Mark "Moose" Charlap and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, the adaptation had a pre-Broadway tour across the West Coast that was not terribly well-received.  As a result, Robbins hired lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green along with composer Jule Styne to write several new songs, effectively turning the show into a full-scale musical. The creators had decided to change the ending of the musical from Barrie's original ending, where Peter simply let Wendy and the other children return home.  Instead, they pulled from a scene that Barrie had written later, where Peter visits the Darling house several years later and discovers Wendy has a daughter.


Peter Pan opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway on October 20, 1954.  Starring Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard, it only planned for a limited run of performances, having previously made a deal with NBC to be broadcast on television while still on tryouts in Los Angeles. The production closed on February 26, 1955, and was followed by NBC's Producers' Showcase program on March 7, 1955. The initial broadcast of the musical attracted an audience of 65 million viewers.  This popularity prompted two more televised broadcasts on January 9, 1956 and December 8, 1960. The latter version was rebroadcast in 1963, 1966, and 1973.

After the immense popularity from the television broadcast, the musical found a new home on Broadway through several revivals. The first came in 1979 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Another production came in 1990 starring Cathy Rigby; it initially started at the Lunt-Fontanne like the previous revival, but returned in an additional 48 performances at the Minskoff Theatre ten months after closing. A similar series of events happened with yet another revival in 1998 at the Marquis Theatre, followed by a return engagement in 1999 at the George Gershwin Theatre.

Since the 1998/1999 Broadway revivals, Peter Pan has gone on to play numerous national tours. Cathy Rigby still continues to perform in the title role, both on the most recent tour and a 2011 production at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Cultural Influence

  • Peter Pan was one of the first musicals to be broadcast in its entirety on television. The immense success of the broadcast has inspired a myriad of television movie stagings of Broadway musicals.
  • The 1955 NBC broadcast of Peter Pan was then the highest rated single television program in the history of television.
  • The musical was among the first to use advanced flying techniques on stage. The success of the flying helped pave the way for many future Broadway shows to implement advanced technologies in their performances.


  • In addition to the Tony Awards won in 1955, Peter Pan has received Tony nominations for Best Revival and Best Actress in a Musical for its 1979, 1990, and 1998 revivals.
  • In an homage to the original play (along with the pantomime tradition it comes from), the title character of Peter Pan is usually performed by awoman. Two notable male exceptions include Meyne Wyatt with Australia's Belvoir company and Jack Noseworthy as an understudy on Jerome Robbins' Broadway.

Critical Reaction

"Retains its magic through decades of restagings [& ] [Jerome Robbins] gave this patchwork of words and music the sense of a complete, living world." -LA Times

"A fun show with periodic moments of enchantment." -TheaterMania

"Such shows are very rare today [& ] if you think your kids have missed out on such charms, well, [Peter Pan] is here to offer that retro opportunity that requires not an app." -The Chicago Tribune



Based on the play by Sir J. M. Barrie


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"In 1929 Sir J.M. Barrie bequeathed Peter Pan to GREAT ORMOND STREET HOSPITAL
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today's performance of Peter Pan is helping towards making the hospital the
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