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Theatre in the Grove opens its new season Friday with 'Peter and the Starcatcher.'

COURTESY PHOTO: KATHY CAMPBELL - 'Peter and the Starcatcher,' which lends more insight into how the popular characters came to be, will run at Theatre in the Grove from Sept. 29 to Oct. 15.Everyone knows the story of Peter Pan, the free-spirited and playful boy who can fly and never grows up. But how did Neverland come to be? How did all of the characters get to where they were at the story's start?

"Peter and the Starcatcher," the Tony Award-winning play, explores the various backstories characters that audiences have grown to love over the years. Theatre in the Grove will be opening its 2017-18 season with the tale of how an orphaned boy became the legendary Peter Pan.

The production delves into quite a bit of backstory, drawing inspiration from "Peter and the Starcatchers" by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, the play lightheartedly explores greed and despair, friendship and love.

The story begins when a mysterious trunk is brought aboard a ship to sail to the far-off isle of Rundoon, assumed to contain a treasure of gold and gems, while an identical trunk containing merely sand is loaded on a second. The treasure chest is found to contain the priceless celestial substance known as "starstuff," which has the magical ability to fulfill dreams.

After a switcheroo by a villainous sea captain, it's up to three orphan boys, led by Molly Aster, to set things to right. However, a notorious pirate named Black Stache has other plans, and it's up to the band of heroes to stop him.

The play provides origin stories for Peter Pan, Mrs. Darling, Tinker Bell and Hook, and serves as a prequel to J. M. Barrie's "Peter and Wendy."

The Theatre in the Grove production features the talents of Emily Smith, Canden Clement, Noel Oishi, Heidi Share, Robin Michaels, Katie Westerman, Isabella Steele, Joanna Galvan, William Ferguson, Erin Riha, Matthew Hampshire, Mary Landauer and Prudence Dawes.

"From a technical standpoint, lighting and sound wise, 'Peter and the Starcatcher' will push our imaginations and bring the stage to life with magic," said TITG Publicity Manager Leslie Crandell Dawes. "The goal for the technical team will be to suspend reality and make everyone feel like they are in Neverland experiencing what Peter does."

The production runs from Sept. 29 to Oct. 15, with Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday showings at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for seniors (60 and over) and youths (17 and under). They can be purchased at the box office at 2028 Pacific Ave. on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or one hour before each performance.

For a complete listing of showtimes, visit www.theatreinthegrove.org or call 503-359-5349.

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