Entertainment » Theatre

Cathy Rigby’s "Peter Pan" Lifts the Spirit

by Tony Reverditto
Monday Nov 12, 2012
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The timeless Cathy Rigby reprises the title role which earned her a Tony nomination in the 35th Anniversary production of "Peter Pan" on Broadway in 1991.

Ten years earlier she made her musical debut in 1981 as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz," and kept it going with Cat-In-The-Hat in "Seussical; the Musical" and in productions of "Annie Get Your Gun," "Meet Me In St. Louis," "South Pacific," "Paint Your Wagon," "They’re Playing Our Song" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." She has been honored with the National Broadway Theatre Award, "Ovation" Lifetime Achievement Award (the West Coast version of a "Tony") and the 2004 Distinguished Lifetime Service Award from The League of American Theatres and Producers.

Hello Cathy, This is Tony from The Rage Monthly here, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. How are you?

Oh, God no, it’s a privilege, thank you for doing this. It’s always so helpful to remind people about the show and to get those first time patrons into the theatre. About every seven years we get a new batch of theatre goers, so it is great because the adults get to share the experience of the show in a fresh way through the eyes of their kids.

First off, Kudos to you for bringing another re-imagined version of Peter Pan to the stage.
How many performances have you done to date?

You know, I think it is estimated at around 3,000. I started the live productions in 1986 and it became a signature role and I love doing it.

Obviously, you are in touch with your inner child, but what transition do you have make from Cathy Rigby to a young boy named Peter Pan?

It’s funny, because I chat backstage with the fellows on the crew that open the windows when I first fly in. Usually we joke around and throw fairy dust on each other, which is so irritating for these poor guys because it sticks to you. The silliness helps put me in that little kid mood. I’ll tell you something else, when a person jumps off a 15-foot ladder, while connected to a wire at break neck speed, there is nothing that prepares you for the immediate thrill. The minute I fly in and hear the gasps from the audience, I’m there . . . well, Peter is there!

What is the most outrageous thing that has happened during a performance of Peter Pan?

I was off stage and getting ready to fly into the window at the very end and am supposed to take Jane with me. The music cue went off and nothing happened, I didn’t go into the air, so they undid my wire and I’m thinking how am I going to fly? Because I don’t have a wire and we are supposed to fly away together. So, I closed my eyes when Jane said "Peter, will you teach me how to fly?" And then she says "Peter, nothing is happening," That was because our wires had gotten crossed, so when she jumped off, she slammed into the set wall!

Is there something in your career that you haven’t done yet and really want to?

Honestly, no, I feel so friggin’ blessed with a wonderful career and family. I will be married 30 years on September 11, I want for nothing in my life. Of course, it would be wonderful to do a new Broadway musical and I would love to be on Dancing with the Stars.

Finally . . . what does it feel like to fly?

I can jump with my eyes closed, I can spin as fast as I want and because of my trusted crew, I know I will land safely. It’s a wonderful feeling and I think everyone should do it.

"Peter Pan" takes off at the San Diego Civic Theatre Downtown, from Tuesday, November 13 through Sunday, November 18. For tickets and more information call 619.570.1100 or go to broadwaysd.com.

Copyright Rage Monthly. For more articles from Rage visit www.ragemonthly.com

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