One week ago, Broadway.com released a character study video of Laura Michelle Kelly discussing her role as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in the hit musical “Finding Neverland”. As she prepares for performances, she thinks, “Maybe one person out of 1,500 people might really need the show. I like to think about the one person.”
Two weeks ago, on the eve of winter storm Jonas, I saw “Finding Neverland” and immediately fell in love.
The musical is captivating thanks to its underlying themes; from “Believe” to “Neverland,” “Play” and “We’re All Made of Stars,” “Finding Neverland” is filled with inspirational lyrics that reassure and motivate those confused or lost in life. The show perfectly represented my position as a college student not knowing what to do with her life despite being on the verge of graduation. Scared of turning into a robotic drone who forgets how to have fun and begins to replaces her jeans with business slacks, watching J.M. Barrie’s transformation made me realize it’s possible to find peace and inspiration despite not knowing what to do – and have a fun time figuring it out.
“Just imagination / and creative speculation / Our life’s calling / Was never meant to be boring”, one of the last lines of “Believe”, reassures the future college graduate that life doesn’t turn drab and grey after leaving school. New and exciting adventures, as well as the opportunity to learn, are always available. People constantly grow if given the room to do so and commit to their dreams.
Act two’s “Play” further attests to this with Charles Frohman’s “You got lost somewhere along the way / You’ve forgotten how to play, every single day”. This simple line – and song as a whole – serves as a reminder to have fun. Children’s awe and wonder about everything stems from their unceasing curiosity and undying imagination. Aging doesn’t kill the fun part of life; people merely tend to focus solely on responsibilities and forget to enjoy creation. Adults can learn from children – their joy and sense of excitement about simple things helps one find peace in tough circumstances.
“You can be anything you wanna be / You can go anywhere you wanna see / A little hard work and you can do it / Faith will get you through it / So many possibilities” is George Llewelyn Davies’ motivational opening in “We’re All Made of Stars”. My life is plagued with the question “What are you doing after you graduate?” and people seem to be disappointed when I nervously say I have no idea. This song is perfect for those times – it reminds you everything will work out. The opportunity to enjoy life is the biggest payoff for any hard work.
Despite the brightness of the show, it doesn’t cease to hit the harder topics. In “Neverland” Barrie sings, “Whenever I was frightened / If I ever felt alone / I turned to the night sky / And the star I called my own / Somewhere I can run to / Just across the milky way”. Life is hard. Everyone goes through struggles of varying magnitudes and sometimes it feels like things won’t get better. “Neverland” is about finding peace amidst these problems. There is always an escape, even if it comes in your imagination. Put together with the message of “We’re All Made of Stars”, “Neverland” serves as an optimistic reminder that believing in oneself, keeping your head up and embodying peace during troubles will open doors.
“Finding Neverland” demonstrates that growing up does not mean forgetting the definition of joy in place of maturity and being professional – it means learning how to combine the two and not take yourself too seriously.
The production is a feel-good, inspirational musical that still touches on real issues in a meaningful manner. Whether you’re a writer caught in the motions like Barrie, a soon-to-be college graduate, or somewhere in between, Neverland is there to welcome and inspire you.