Mother, son conspire to make ‘Peter Pan’ magical

By on April 27, 2016

It’s not often that a mother and son get to work together in the production of a musical. Because of that, “Peter Pan,” showing this weekend at Lititz Christian School is extra special. It stars Noah Felty in the lead role of Peter. His mother, Jen, is directing the show.

Recently, Jen was interviewed by Chris Haluck, Lititz Christian School’s director of advancement, about her history in the theater, and this weekend’s production.

Q: How did you develop an interest and love of acting?

A: My first show was in kindergarten. I was asked to be in a production that my church was doing. I remember my solo, my costume…so many details. I was in every show I could possibly do at my church and elementary school. When I got to high school, I played so many sports that I couldn’t do the shows. My sophomore year I made the tough choice to quit basketball so I could be in the musicals. I did three shows at Hempfield High School and ended my career there as Mabel in “Pirates of Penzance.” The first musical in the (then) new Performing Arts Center. I did my first professional shows after my sophomore year in college. It was “Smoke on the Mountain” and “My Fair Lady.” I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do this thing that I loved so much. I had a hard time going back to school after that summer theatre experience. Turns out I left college a few months into my last semester senior year to work in theatre. I finished my classes via e-mail and flew back for graduation.

Q: Who was most influential in developing your voice and acting skills?

A: I have my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance and pedagogy. My voice teachers in both college and grad school were the ones to form me into the performer I am today. Both of them placed an equal emphasis on acting and singing. Especially my grad school teacher. There were some voice lessons that I didn’t even sing a note. They were spent perfecting my song in monologue form (just speaking it in character.)

Q: Where did you study acting?

A: In school. Houghton College and Penn State.

Q: What was your favorite role? Show?

A: Every role I’ve done is my favorite. The next role I’ll do is my favorite, too. I just love being on the stage. A few dream roles that I haven’t had the privilege to perform yet would be Mary Poppins and a show that I’d love to do is “ONCE.” The only thing that comes close is directing and seeing my cast making it happen in front of an audience. The first time an audience member laughs, I usually cry! “They did it!” is what usually rings in my head.

 

This photo of Jen and Noah Felty was taken during a production of “Les Miserables.” Jen is the chair of fine arts at Lititz Christian School, and the director of the upcoming production of ‘Peter Pan.’ Her son Noah, playing Peter, is a sixth grader at Lititz Christian.

This photo of Jen and Noah Felty was taken during a production of “Les Miserables.” Jen is the chair of fine arts at Lititz Christian School, and the director of the upcoming production of ‘Peter Pan.’ Her son Noah, playing Peter, is a sixth grader at Lititz Christian.

 

Q: When did Noah start acting?

A: Noah also made his debut in Kindergarten (like me). He was Max the dog in “Seussical the Musical,” at Lititz Christian.

Q: Was there anyone else besides you and your husband, David, that inspired him? (David Felty is the program director for musical theatre in the worship and performing arts department at Lancaster Bible College)

A: He’s inspired by the casts he gets to be a part of. He really looks up to the guys he’s had the privilege to work with.

Q: What other roles has Noah played?

A: He played the role of Gavroche in “Les Miserables” at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Fla. His dad and I were in the cast, too — our first show together. After that show, he came back here and played a lollipop guild munchkin in Gretna Theatre’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” His other major roles were Jojo in “Seussical the Musical” at LBC and this past summer he was Flounder in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” at Gretna Theatre.

Q: What is your favorite part of “Peter Pan” (the LCS version) and why?

A: I love the energy of the show. It is a fast-paced action packed show! From the Indians to the Pirates to the Lost boys, it barely stops!

Q: Is there anything about the show that is different than the original?

A: There are a few versions of the show now; this is the original Broadway version. So if someone is familiar with the Cathy Rigby version, this differs slightly. It has a few songs that aren’t included in her version. It is a fun show with familiar characters. There’s a lot of music and a lot of antics! In J.M. Barrie’s novel, “Peter Pan,” he describes Neverland like a constant circle: the Indians are chasing the Pirates are chasing the Lost Boys are chasing the Indians…and it goes on and on. I guess it’s obvious who ends up winning. But as fun and energetic it is, a few moments will touch your heart and bring a tear to your eye.

This year is special. I have an extremely talented, creative and hardworking cast with the type of synergy that blends to form a brilliant production.

Lititz Christian School, 501 W. Lincoln Ave., will present the classic musical “Peter Pan,” April 28 through 30. Thursday and Friday performances will begin at 7 p.m. and Saturday will be a matinee beginning at 2 p.m.. Visit LititzChristian.net for more information and to purchase tickets. To learn more, call 626-9518.

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