Return of Neverland is a musical sequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. The book and lyrics are by Andrew Park and the music is by Scott Lamps. It's been work shopped at Indiana State University and the world premiere is at the Crossroads Repertory Theatre.
Arthur Feinsod is a faculty member at ISU and the artistic director of the Crossroads Repertory Theatre. "Return of Neverland centers on Jane who is the daughter of Wendy Darling. The grown up Wendy Darling comes from London to live in the United States, trying to get away from Neverland. Her earlier experience of Neverland was so traumatic and difficult that she's and trying to protect her daughter from it. But, of course those plans go afoul and Neverland does start to appear in Jane's dreams and does visit her. That's the catalyst for the whole play."
Jane is played by Clara Butts. Last summer at Crossroads Rep she was in Godspell. She's also done a few summer training sessions in musical theatre at a dinner theatre in Minnesota and this past year she played Desiree Armfeldt in Sondheim's A Little Night Music at Indiana State. Butts is just twenty-one, but she's actually having a bit of a struggle to playing the teen aged Jane.
"I've had to play older roles before, but this is my first time to play a child. Playing a sixteen year old girl is a new thing for me. It seems like five years ago is not very long, but is kind of strange. This is a new and exciting journey for me to take."
There is one bit of family history that informs Butts performance. "A lot of it hits home for me. Throughout the play, the characters from Neverland think that Jane is Wendy. They mix up the daughter and the mother. I've always been in my own mother's shadow and I got called by her name a lot."