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#117 Peter Pan

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Peter Pan – Episode #117 – November 26, 2020

JESS: Hello, I'm Jesse McAnally.

ANDREW: And I am Andrew DeWolf.

BRIANNA: And I'm Brianna Jones.

JESS: And welcome to Musicals with Cheese, a podcast where I try to get Andrew to like musical theater. How are you doing today, Andrew?

ANDREW: I feel fantastic. Except for one thing, Jess. And I bet you can't guess what it is.

JESS: Did your shadow fall off?

ANDREW: No. I'm not a pirate.

JESS: Oh, you want to be a pirate?

ANDREW: I want to be a pirate. Like, really bad.

JESS: Why do you wanna be a pirate?

ANDREW: Because we just watched Peter Pan and there’s pirates and I want to be fucking Captain Hook.

JESS: Peter Pan. Cue the clip.

(Peter Pan ad plays)

JESS: Peter Pan is a musical with music mostly by Moose Charlap, with additional music by Jule Styne, and most of the lyrics were written by Carolyn Leigh, with additional lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. With a book by Sir James M. Barrie, based on Sir James M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan, it premiered on Broadway on October 20, 1954 at the Winter Garden Theatre, where it ran for a planned limited engagement of 152 performances, where it closed so it could be recorded – well, streamed live - to the TV audiences all over the world on NBC. It won Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, and Best Stage Technician, which I don't think exists as a Tony Award anymore, and it very well should.

ANDREW: Those stage technicians - they work hard.

JESS: Yes, they do. The basic plot of Peter Pan is Peter and his mischievous fairy sidekick, Tinker Bell, visit the nursery of the Darling children late one night and –

ANDREW: Do we need to explain this?

JESS: - with a sprinkle of pixie dust, begin a magical journey across the stars that none of them will ever forget. In the adventure of a lifetime, the travelers come face to face with a ticking crocodile, a fierce Native American tribe, a band of bungling pirates and, of course, the villainous Captain Hook. Andrew, what did you think of Peter Pan? Do you like my cup by the way?

ANDREW: Oh, that is a nice cup. Are they Native Americans? If they live in a star? That's, like, galaxies away?

JESS: They are Native Starians, Native Neverlandians.

ANDREW: I mean, at that point, if they call themselves Indians, maybe that's just what they call themselves? And it just is a huge coincidence that their culture exactly lines up with Native American culture? Or at least the stereotype that we have of it.

JESS: I mean, the argument could be made that this is all in the children’s heads. Even though this version specifically doesn't embrace that because they bring back the children from Neverland to be adopted by their parents.

ANDREW: Okay, in this version of it, it is explicitly real. The mother and father characters see the shadow detached from Peter Pan. And they both are kind of fine with it.

JESS: They’re just like, “Fine, that’s weird. Wow. Looks like a scoundrel.”

ANDREW: You're not at all concerned that there's a detached shadow from a person who is sneaking into your nursery?

JESS: Okay, Andrew. What is your relationship to the Peter Pan story? Because it is kind of ubiquitous at this point. Whether or not you, like, really dive into it.

ANDREW: Okay, I've seen the Disney one. I've ridden the ride at Disney World. And I think that's actually about it.

JESS: You've never seen any version - You've never seen Robin Williams’ Hook?

ANDREW: I think I have but I literally can't remember it.

JESS: All right. All right, Bree. What is your relationship with Peter Pan, if you have any?

BRIANNA: My relationship with the Peter Pan movie? I saw the movie when I was a kid. It wasn't my favorite.

JESS: Was it the Disney animated one?

BRIANNA: It was a Disney animated one. And then I think I was telling you earlier that my high school put on a performance of it.

ANDREW: Of the Disney movie?

BRIANNA: No, no. Of Peter Pan -

JESS: Of this musical.

ANDREW: Of this musical, okay.

BRIANNA: Yeah, and that wasn't great. But I also don't really remember it because I was in the second grade. Um, and that's about it. I've seen Hook.

JESS: Hook is good, right?

BRIANNA: Hook is really good.

JESS: And Hook basically, as Spielberg... Spielberg was trying to make an adaptation of this musical. And then he got bored doing that and said, “You know what? I’m gonna make a sequel to this musical.” And that's how we ended up with Hook, with very specific references to only this musical version of it. And fun fact, this is not even the only stage musical version of it. Leonard Bernstein - very famous composer and lyricist - did a version of it, which is not very good, that I listened to a lot when I was a kid. And still as a kid, I was like, “This isn't very good.”

ANDREW: Well, is any version of Peter Pan really that great? I guess maybe if you're arguing Hook, but...

JESS: Hook is still not good as an idea. Like, it's a great movie, but it still has a lot of things, you know?

ANDREW: I really just feel like Peter Pan has been done dirty, you know? There's no version of Peter Pan that’s, like, good.

JESS: Have you ever seen the 2003 version with Jason Isaacs as Hook where he's like a badass actual murderer?

ANDREW: See, I want to like that. But I feel like that sucks. Does it suck?

JESS: No, I actually think it's pretty good.

ANDREW: Okay, see, I want Hook to be kind of a badass murder. I feel like Disney takes Hook and makes them like this - Just an idiot? I don't know. The Disney version sucks. This one, I kind of like Hook in this one.

JESS: I like all of this one, I think. In my opinion, this is the best version of Peter Pan. This specific musical. It is the iconic one, it is the one everyone remembers when they think of Peter Pan. This is it incarnate.

ANDREW: I don't know. When I think of Peter Pan, I still think of the animated Disney film.

JESS: I don't think so. Like, I think on a mass... Like, when people think Peter Pan, they think of Mary Martin and the NBC live telecast, which was the first NBC live musical ever. So, they did it every couple of years – live. Like, they went on to the stage, they performed in front of cameras, and it got streamed to homes everywhere as it was happening. And we have recordings of that. And they went from black and white to color TV. In fact, the live streams were part of the reason why color TVs became so ubiquitous in homes, because you wanted to see the colors of Neverland and all that. And that was the original version of it. And then in 1979, Sandy Duncan had a Broadway revival, which was also very well-received. Then in the 90s, you had this Cathy Rigby production, which is what you watched, which I loved as a kid, and I saw live and got to meet Cathy Rigby, and was like one of my first theater experiences, and it was really fucking cool.

ANDREW: I think as a show for kids, this is actually really good. And I think that's interesting, because most shows for kids are pretty bad. I don't know. Or at least they're very much critically-panned. Whereas it seems like this one, maybe not?

JESS: Oh, also. Now that it's just hitting me. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. This is posting on Thanksgiving.

ANDREW: Wait, really?

JESS: And I bet you're wondering what this musical has to do with Thanksgiving. Oh, we'll get there.

ANDREW: I mean, there's Native Americans in it.

JESS: Yeah, there are Native Americans in it. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

ANDREW: And pirates, which honestly, pirates have a lot to do with Thanksgiving as well. Look into the history of it.

JESS: Mmhmm. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

ANDREW: I'm actually just lying. Don't look into –

JESS: Christopher Columbus was a pirate, if you think really hard about it.

ANDREW: A white slaver?

JESS: I mean, that's not a pirate.

ANDREW: Actually, I think it is not a pirate.

JESS: But that being said, like you said, this is an actually really good musical for children. It doesn't take that many deviations from the Peter Pan story. It doesn't do anything crazy insane with it. This is the ultimate classic musical, in a way where it is actually timeless. There isn't those weird things it's like, “Oh, that's such a 50s musical thing.”

ANDREW: Okay, yeah. Like in other shows for kids, like the SpongeBob musical - as much as we've said that it got more hate than it deserves - 10 years from now that's going to be dated as fuck.

JESS: Yeah. Name me another musical that still kind of works 60 years later.

ANDREW: Oh, boy. I mean, every one that we've talked about that’s 60 years old, there's so much stuff in it that's like, yikes.

JESS: Oklahoma, Carousel.

ANDREW: Okay, I mean, I guess let's just go right to it. There's a little bit of yikes in this one. Just a tad.

JESS: But I feel like Peter Pan itself has become so ubiquitous that you know about those yikes things in the content in and of itself.

ANDREW: You really can't... How do you remove it, you know? I feel like you literally... In other ones, it’s like, “Man, this doesn't need to be here at all.” But in this, it's like, I feel like you can't remove the yikes stuff from Peter Pan. How do you get –

JESS: Okay, we need the context of what the yikes stuff is.

ANDREW: How do you get rid of the Indians? You can't. I don't think you can.

JESS: I think you can. The movie, Hook, outright ignores the fact that they exist.

ANDREW: That's fair. But that's also not Peter Pan. That's not the Peter Pan story. That's Hook. It's a different thing.

JESS: The 2014 live telecast with Allison Williams and Christopher Walken tried very hard to fix it. So, they had someone from an Indian Tribal Nation come in as a consultant. They translated the entirety of the song Ugg-a-Wugg, which was –

ANDREW: Which, yikes.

JESS: - was the original title and song for the Indians. Um, yeah. And they translated it into Oh-hey, which is actually Indian, Native American language.

ANDREW: Well, which tribe though? You know, who gets to decide what tribe?

JESS: Yeah, that is fair. Who gets to claim the tribe of the Neverland Indians? And we'll talk even further. Pan, which we've laughed about on this show many-a-time about having a Nirvana song in it.

ANDREW: That's what that one was!

JESS: Yeah. They literally just made all the Indians white people. Rooney Mara, literally the whitest of white human beings, plays Tiger Lily.

ANDREW: That's probably the worst way to go.

JESS: And Peter and the Starcatcher made them just a multicultural, like, religious sect. That is what they - And I thought that was a really smart way to go around them.

ANDREW: Yeah. See, the problem with the whole Indian thing is, at this point, it's like a childhood cultural thing. Like, even... What was that movie - Parasite, where the kid was obsessed with Indians. It's like, a different thing than Native Americans, but it's entirely racialized. So it's sucks. Because pirates - pirates are just pirates. It's a real thing that actually happened. It was an actual culture. But it doesn't fucking matter. Because it wasn't racialized. It wasn't on racial lines in that way. But you can't do that with Indians. Because even calling them Indians is kind of a racist thing.

JESS: I remember in the Disney movie, they literally refer to them as like, slurs –

ANDREW: Oh, the Disney movie is fucking – Like, the fact that they allow the Disney movie, and then they go, and they're like, “Oh, but the Song of the South doesn't exist.” Like, excuse me? Come on.

JESS: Literally, there's a song in the Disney movie called What Makes the Red Man Red?

ANDREW: Yeah, that is about as bad as it goes. And you guys aren't going to acknowledge that Song of the South exists, but you're gonna... What Makes the Red Man Red? That's just fine. What's, uh, you know, put that out - 50th anniversary.

JESS: And the thing that makes this musical - this specific musical - work, is the fact that the Indians are kind of like, just in name only. They kind of feel like their own fairy tale thing.

ANDREW: Well, yeah, and that's kind of what I'm getting at. Like, it's very difficult for them to remove the Indians because they're not actually referencing Native Americans in any way –

JESS: It’s not referencing a history or a culture. The story itself is part of history and culture, but it's not referencing the actual history and culture.

ANDREW: Yeah. What they're actually referencing is the thing that little kids dress up as and pretend to be, right?

JESS: Yes.

ANDREW: Like, little kids pretend to be Lost Boys. Little kids pretend to be pirates. And little kids pretend to be Indians. And the only one that is actually a problem now and to be fair, it probably should be a problem, but it's Indians because that's kind of racist. You know, it's like those are actual people that we kind of slaughtered.

JESS: Yeah, we wiped up their entire culture, took their culture away from them, invaded and destroyed it.

ANDREW: And we did that with pirates, too. But we justified that because pirates are criminals.

JESS: Another thing about framing of the Indians here. They are not framed as evil mean people or idiots or dumb. They are tacticians. They are smart. They are allies.

ANDREW: It's not like a spaghetti western where the Indians are savages.

JESS: Or even like Back to the Future Part III where they're just dumb.

ANDREW: Yeah, it's like, that's not what they're going for. So, you know, it's difficult to overlook a song called - What was it? Ugg-a-Wugg, where it's just like, “Okay, well, that's kind of racist because you’re just saying that their language is basically just made up sounds.”

JESS: All languages are made up sounds.

ANDREW: That's true, but they're saying that like, “Hey, your language is so made up and stupid that I'm not even gonna bother to understand it. I'm just gonna make it up.” It's like saying like, “Oh, like Chinese people ching chong”, like, you know, like that's racist, obviously.

JESS: I mean, let's think about - Like the Mary Martin production, which was in the 50s, they have literal just white people wearing feathers on their head and called them Indians.

ANDREW: Yeah. It's a thing that you have to separate from it. And yeah, it's a difficult subject to tread. I think the one that you mentioned went about it the best possible way, where they actually got consultants from at least one of the Native American cultures, and was like, “Hey, let's at least make this actual words.”

JESS: Um, all right, let's talk a little bit more about the characterization of it. Especially of Peter Pan, because Peter Pan I feel like our culture has co-opted into “good boy”. Like, the cool kid.

ANDREW: Peter Pan’s not a good person.

JESS: No, and the book very clearly represents him as not a good person. An aloof person. Like, in the book, Peter Pan, when the Lost Boys get older - because Peter Pan is the only one that doesn't grow up - he either takes them out and kills them because they got too old or they escape Peter Pan and become pirates. If Peter’s aloofness - he's like Patrick Bateman. Literally, he is Patrick Bateman.

ANDREW: Now, I kind of always interpreted in a way the pirates as being former Lost Boys, because like, where else do the pirates come from? You know, like, it doesn't make sense. And I know that it's supposed to be like, Neverland, no one ages. But, uh, I don't know, I never really thought it made sense that these pirates are just kind of there. You know? I think, yeah, I don't know. It just It doesn't make sense. So it kind of has to be that way.

JESS: It's interesting, because Peter Pan is a sociopath. He really is.

ANDREW: What would you call him in like a Dungeons and Dragons game? He's a lich, or, like, someone who seeks immortality, in a way?

JESS: Yeah, he also actively thinks he's the greatest guy in the world. And it's creepy. And there's an entire song about how great he is. “I'm so awesome. And I got to make noise about it.” And everyone's like, “You're being an asshole.” And he’s like, “I don't give a care. I'm Peter Pan. I can do whatever I want. I'm so cool.”

ANDREW: Well, I think he's kind of like - he's an actual little kid. And little kids don't care about other people.

JESS: Yes, but take a look at the Disney one. The Disney one has a little of that, but he's also “responsible”.

ANDREW: The Disney one - he is just the hero, that's it.

JESS: Yes, he is hero boy. And in Hook, as much as I like Hook and I think it's an okay movie, he's just a guy. And they never talk about his deeply insane values held as a kid. And it would be one thing if he was just a kid, but he's a kid that murders people... Let's talk about the story of it.

ANDREW: His whole thing is he’s a child that flies around with a dagger. There's three defining traits of Peter Pan. He has the ability to fly, he doesn't age, and he has a dagger.

JESS: Let's talk about all three acts, because this is a very rare three-act musical.

ANDREW: Yeah. Honestly, you can't even really tell. I guess, unless you're looking for it. I don't know.

JESS: Well, when you see it in a theater, there are two intermissions.

ANDREW: Which is probably good for little kids.

JESS: Yeah. And this is a short musical. This is only an hour and 45 minutes. It is super, super short.

ANDREW: Yeah. But you know, like, when you have children, the audience that are probably like six –

JESS: “I gotta go to the bathroom.”

ANDREW: Yeah, you know, it’s a good idea. I think that's a good idea.

JESS: But let's talk about Act One where basically Peter comes in, invades this house to get his shadow back and just kidnaps three children.

ANDREW: Don't forget, man. There's that big dog.

JESS: Yeah. Nana, their nanny.

ANDREW: Yeah, they have a furry that takes care of their children. And the furry lives in a dog house inside their house. I liked the whole beginning part, except for when they find the shadow. I always thought that was weird. But how... How does the mom find the shadow and is just, like, fine with it? She's a little bit worried, but she's like, “Oh, just someone shadow I guess let me put it in a drawer.”

JESS: Well, the dad has to get to his business dinner. There's important things on the line.

ANDREW: Yeah, I don't know. That was a little weird.

JESS: What about the part where Peter Pan just hears that Wendy's brother’s kind of mean sometimes and fucking kicks him while he's dead asleep?

ANDREW: Well, Peter Pan's the hero.

JESS: He's a real, like, fucking white knight.

ANDREW: Well, his goal is to get Wendy... It is Wendy, right?

JESS: Yeah. Wendy is the girl.

ANDREW: Okay. Yeah. Um, I couldn't remember if I was thinking of the daughter's name –

JESS: That’s Jane, god.

ANDREW: Okay, Peter Pan's entire goal is to bring a girl back to Neverland to be his mom.

JESS: Yes. Everyone wants Wendy to be their mom. The pirates want Wendy to be their mom.

ANDREW: It's really weird.

JESS: Bree. Will you be out mother and knit us pockets and tell us stories?

BRIANNA: Yes, boys.

ANDREW: Wendy's totally fine with it too. Which is kind of weird.

JESS: Yeah, she’s like, “I love having these boys look up to me and need me. I love being needed.”

BRIANNA: Isn't that what women are supposed to do? Grow up and be mommies?

ANDREW: Yeah, but they're not even growing up. They're just asking her to be a mommy right now.

JESS: Yeah, literally “Be our mother.”

ANDREW: Also I'm not quite sure that that is the only thing girls are supposed to do.

BRIANNA: Yeah, I know. That was me making a joke. Ha ha ha.

ANDREW: Women are not allowed to make jokes.

JESS: No jokes allowed. Women can’t make jokes. They're not allowed to be comedians.

BRIANNA: Women aren't allowed to be funny?

ANDREW: Not allowed. Neither are men.

JESS: Jokes are over until we get this whole thing sorted out.

ANDREW: Jokes are canceled. No more comedy. I'm done with it.

BRIANNA: Oh, boy.

JESS: All right. All right. All right. So, Act One ends with a pretty cool effect of Peter flying all over the place. I think that looks really good.

ANDREW: The flying looks fantastic. I don't know how they made it look so good. You can't see what they're hanging from it all. And the way that they fly looks so natural. At least, you know, comparatively to what it could have looked like.

JESS: I think that's mostly because they chose very wisely with their choice in lead. Cathy Rigby - great singer, like you have to admit, her singing voice is top notch. And she's also a gymnast. She is very flexible and can do some pretty crazy things with her body.

ANDREW: I like when every one of them is flying, and the only one that's really doing anything is the lead.

JESS: - Is Peter Pan. Because she’s the only one that physically can.

ANDREW: Yeah, and the other ones who just kind of like, “Ah, wow”.

JESS: Where she's like flipping the fuck around and bouncing off shit. I want to say, um, I don't really want to use my time here to talk about this musical I have a nostalgic childhood feeling for, and talk about the 2014 Christopher Walken and Allison Williams travesty. Allison Williams does her best there, but my God, she does not know how to handle the wirework. Like, she gets stuck upside down a couple times.

ANDREW: Oh, no.

JESS: She does not know how to distribute her weight with those wires and such, so it comes off very badly for her.

ANDREW: You would have thought they would have trained more for that and prepared better.

JESS: Well, the thing is - no amount of training can really get you to do everything perfectly. Unless you're an Olympic gymnast the way that Cathy Rigby is.

ANDREW: Okay.

JESS: So, Act Two is mostly about the pirates and the boys wanting to have Wendy as a mother. And then a lot of Act Two is just meandering around, but I want to talk about the scene where Tinker Bell convinces the Lost Boys to murder Wendy out of the sky. And then one of them thinks they've done it and then Peter, as soon as he hears that Wendy dies, tries to murder one of the Lost Boys.

ANDREW: I mean, these are a group of kids in the woods. They don't they don't have a mother, so they don't understand that you can't murder people.

JESS: Yeah, I mean if you kill another person, you gotta die too. An eye for an eye.

ANDREW: Look, if you don't have parents, you want to murder. We've all seen Annie. She doesn't even have pupils in her eyes. There is no soul there.

JESS: There's no love. There's no soul.

ANDREW: I'm just kidding. Of course. Why the fuck did they listen to this little asshole fairy and try to kill some –

JESS: It is weird that they want this female presence and then ignore Tinker Bell.

ANDREW: Tinker Bell's not –

JESS: She's one of the dudes, man.

ANDREW: She's not a person. She's a fairy.

JESS: Do you believe in fairies, Andrew?

ANDREW: I don't believe in fairies.

JESS: One just died!

ANDREW: I actually do believe in fairies, but I like to murder them. So, I say that as often as I can.

JESS: I was just thinking – in the 2003 Peter Pan movie where Hook comes across the fairy at a tree, says “There's no such thing as fairies” and then just squashes it. That movie’s great and everyone was a-fucking-sleep on that movie. That movie’s great.

ANDREW: Goddamn, now I wanna watch that. What is that called?

JESS: It's just Peter Pan 2003.

ANDREW: Geez, how have I not heard of this movie?

JESS: It's a lot of fun. It's a fun movie accurate to the book. Like very, very dark in some places. Good kids movie. What do you think of the Lost Boys in this musical?

ANDREW: Um, I honestly don't have much of an opinion.

JESS: They have like, these comedic moments where they just talk to each other and it's meant to be hilarious.

ANDREW: I don't think that they're very funny.

JESS: No.

ANDREW: And I don't really particularly remember any of them that well. They're all just –

JESS: You have the twin ones, you've got soiled, slightly? Slightly Soiled.

ANDREW: Yeah, I mean. Pissing and shitting yourself is not a character trait - sorry.

JESS: Neither is just being fat or being a twin.

ANDREW: Being a twin is a character trait. Because that means that you’re either the good one or the evil one.

JESS: But Andrew, we need to talk about how Hook tries to, like, trick them into eating a cake. Like, that’s his big plan.

ANDREW: Hook in this is great. Can we talk about Hook?

JESS: Let’s talk about Hook.

ANDREW: I like Hook in this a lot. He is the goofy version of Hook, which is fine. I don't hate the goofy version of Hook, which is which is like, you know, he's just a little bit of a dummy. But I think that he is fun and menacing enough that he actually has an impact.

JESS: Right. And this continues the trait of having the father character also play Hook as both, like, the - I think that's always a good trade. And I feel like the only version that's ever not done that is the 2014 Christopher Walken version where they just have the guy who played Smee play the father, because Christopher Walken couldn't be fucked.

ANDREW: Christopher Walken was like, “Yeah, I'm not, No.”

JESS: Have you watched the clips of that, Andrew?

ANDREW: Yeah, he's something. He's doing his best. Can we get some audio clips of that right now?

(Audio clip from Peter Pan 2014 plays, where Christopher Walken forgets his line)

ANDREW: All right, Chris.

JESS: Man, that was cringe worthy, wasn't it?

ANDREW: Chris, you uh, you doing okay out there?

JESS: And literally the line he was waiting for was, “The game is up.”

ANDREW: It's like the most cliché line in the entire show. And he’s like, “Oh, what am I supposed to say? What was it? Oh - ”

JESS: (insert Christopher Walken-like coughs and clearing of throat here) That was what happened.

ANDREW: It’s true, though.

JESS: People paid money to put that on. People put effort into that.

(Jess and Andrew alternate doing Christopher Walken cough impressions)

JESS: Act Three, Andrew.

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESS: This is where they're all on the pirate ship. And they try to kill the Lost Boys.

ANDREW: You know, I actually was thinking to myself, like, “Is there gonna be an actual pirate ship set?” And then there was.

JESS: Were you happy about it?

ANDREW: I was happy about it. I just, I really like pirates. You know, I think that they're cool.

JESS: Do you like the pirates in this musical? Like when they're on screen you're like, “Hell yeah, I'm into this.”

ANDREW: I have some fun with them. You know? I think that Captain Hook is a poor representation of a pirate captain. We need better pirate representation in media. I am coming out as a pirate, actually. I am a pirate.

JESS: I'm proud of you for finally saying it.

ANDREW: I'm out of the crow's nest.

JESS: There we are. He came down from the crow’s nest. I think this is actually the best scenes of the show - on the pike.

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESS: And I think the actual fight scene between Pan and Hook is pretty well done. For stage fighting.

ANDREW: Oh yeah. There’s some, like, fun fight stuff. I think it's a little goofy, the part where like, Peter’s in the ship and he's sending people in to die, essentially.

JESS: Peter fucking murders those people.

ANDREW: He does. We don't see them again. They're dead.

JESS: No, he fucking killed them.

ANDREW: Yeah, no 100%.

JESS: We didn't talk about the “Do you believe in fairies” scene where they turn to you, Andrew, and ask - Did you clap?

ANDREW: I didn't. I mean, I've already admitted that I've tried to kill as many fairies as possible. So I was actively fighting the crowd. Obviously, my words are not heard though, since this happened in the past.

JESS: My favorite is the live productions where they don't have an audience. So it's just like, “Yes, yes. Keep clapping.” Dead silence. “Yes. Keep it going.”

ANDREW: Oh, please. Please clap.

JESS: Jeb Bush. Peter’s going full Jeb Bush.

ANDREW: Peter turns to the audience: “Please, clap.”

JESS: Can we talk a bit about how they bring home all the Lost Boys and just assume that their parents are going to fucking adopt them?

ANDREW: And then they do?

JESS: Yeah. No, fucking get out in the streets. Go to the workhouses.

ANDREW: Oh, my God.

JESS: You wanted to be here so bad. I don't have to take care of you.

ANDREW: (imitates Scrooge) That's what we have workhouses for.

JESS: (imitates Scrooge) Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? We’re around that line between Christmas and Thanksgiving, so we needa start bringing in the Christmas material now.

ANDREW: Boy.

JESS: They already got Christmas music on the radio. Come on.

ANDREW: Ebenezer Scrooge. No, they adopt them all and it's a very happy ending. It's like when Daddy Warbucks adopts the entire orphanage at the end of the day.

JESS: That didn't happen.

ANDREW: That doesn't happen in Annie?

JESS: No.

ANDREW: Oh my god. That's crazy. I thought Annie was a masterpiece.

JESS: No. President FDR says, “We'll find houses for you and homes to adopt you all.” Remember, the President made the promise.

ANDREW: “You guys have money to rent these homes, right? Oh, you don't? Get out of my sight.”

JESS: “Can't even get up to kick you.”

ANDREW: “I won't be bothered.”

JESS: Yeah, cus he's in a wheelchair.

ANDREW: He always pretended he wasn't, though.

JESS: Yeah well, that musical will tell you differently. He's just chilling in a wheelchair the entire musical.

ANDREW: Doesn't Daddy Warbucks hate him?

JESS: I mean, what do democrats eat?

ANDREW: Shit?

JESS: Yeah, most of the time it looks like. Let's talk about the epilogue of this musical which I think is super fucked up.

ANDREW: The epilogue?

JESS: Yeah.

ANDREW: All right. Well, why do you think it’s so fucked up?

JESS: Where Peter comes back thinking it's been a week but it's been 60 years and he comes across old lady Wendy. It's like, “Oh, no, you grew up without me.” And she's like, “I have a granddaughter.” He's like, “I'm gonna take this bitch instead.”

ANDREW: I think that this is one of the best scenes because it shows the true Peter Pan.

JESS: It really does, though. Like, he doesn't give a fuck about Wendy as a person. He gives a fuck about that mother figure in his life and only that.

ANDREW: He just wants his mommy and his mommy has to be underage.

JESS: You remember in Company - the musical Company? Where the plotline leads to them being like, “Bobby, you're gonna have to want to be with somebody. Not with just some body.”

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESS: That's Peter Pan. He's like Bobby. Like, he just wants that being there to be that mother figure.

ANDREW: You're gonna have to be with some buddy, not just some mommy.

JESS: If Peter Pan did grow up to be Robin Williams, does he have a mommy fetish?

ANDREW: 100%.

JESS: Yeah, he totally does. He watches so much incest porn. Like, that's what he does all day.

ANDREW: His only category is stepmom porn. That's it.

JESS: No, step is too far. It has to be real mom, it has to be blood-related.

ANDREW: I feel like they don't have that as a category usually.

JESS: You never know.

ANDREW: It's a little too risqué unless you're living in Alabama.

JESS: Then that's just your neighbors.

ANDREW: You get the binoculars out, you don't even have to go to pornhub.

JESS: But you know who definitely doesn't watch porn?

ANDREW: You?

JESS: The New York theater critics. We're about to go into our next favorite segment, the best segment on this entire show. It's time for Breeviews, where we get to compare our opinions with those of the New York theatre critics. And for this one, we've actually broken up a bit. We're gonna see from the 1979 production all the way up to the most recent production. So, we've got a lot of ground to cover here, Bree.

ANDREW: You know, there’s no Ben Brantley here, I've noticed.

JESS: There is no Ben Brantley here.

BRIANNA: Did he have nothing to say?

JESS: He did not say anything about this show.

ANDREW: You know what they say. If you don't have anything positive to say, just don't say anything at all.

JESS: Then obviously you're not Ben Brantley.

BRIANNA: Yeah. Okay. The New York Times critic Walter Kerr says, “Of the 1979 production, Peter Pan, for all that Mary Martin and television were able to make of it, was never exactly a landmark musical in Broadway history. It was a patch job - be nice and call it a patchwork quilt - But there is trouble. In the long second act (of three), It's simply this. Barry's plotting - my god, am I going to defend the plotting of Peter Pan - and the little psychological contretemps that developed between Peter and Wendy have been ditched, or mentioned cursorily and tossed away. Tossed aside in favor of production numbers created specifically for the other performers nearly 25 years ago, I found myself gradually neutralized, except in midflight.” You guys have anything to say about that?

JESS: I get it.

ANDREW: Is this production a particularly bad version of it?

JESS: No, it was the iconic one of the 70s. It's basically the same production.

ANDREW: So it's really just kind of the same thing. You have the bland middle half, though.

JESS: Yeah, it's the exact same script and basic aesthetics.

ANDREW: Which is honestly a bad thing when it comes to musicals, because usually they improve them over time.

JESS: There's small improvements here and there. But more or less, it was the same as the Mary Martin original one. You didn’t see many big changes until the 90s when he brought Cathy Rigby, who basically played the role for 20 years.

ANDREW: Well, not quite the 90s yet, but uh, here's Mel Gussow in in 1990 production here: “’Peter Pan’ is the musical that never grew up. It is locked in a time warp in which children can dream about breaking loose from their families and searching for lofty adventure, and adults can feel nostalgic about their lost dreams of childhood. When Peter Pan persuades Wendy and her brothers to fly with him to the world of the Lost Boys -- in a Jerome Robbins aerial ballet -- children in the audience may feel a similar surge to the open windows of experience.” I wouldn’t talk about children feeling a surge towards open windows.

BRIANNA: My thoughts exactly.

JESS: That’s the reason why I picked this specific excerpt. It's such a weird – Like, it’s technically gonna be the most positive one we've got here. But it just reads so creepy.

ANDREW: It kinda reads like, “Wow, your children will want to die as they watch this.” They're gonna leap out the window.

JESS: I kind of want to say the third one now. Because this one is such an anecdotal one. It's so weirdly like about this dude and his kids. And you never see that in the New York Times.

ANDREW: Is this like a blue checkmark-style review? Where it’s just like, “Me and my five-year-old kid just - oh my goodness, you'll never believe what they just said.”

JESS: Alright, I’m gonna do this one, Bree. New York Times critic Peter Marks says of the 1998 revival, “It was during the ''Ugg-a-Wugg'' Indian number that the little girl in the rainbow-colored cardigan turned and flashed me the A-O.K. sign”, so I knew she was a white supremacist.

ANDREW: No, this was 98. 98. Not 2000.

JESS: Alright. “I might have been quick to suspect her as an audience plant by the ''Peter Pan'' public relations people. Except that she was my own daughter. My pleasure was observing their pleasure. For a parent, there are few experiences more exhilarating. And, of course, it took me back 100 years or so, to the first time I saw ''Peter Pan'' -- it was that grainy television version, starring Mary Martin -- and how wowed I was not by a boy who could fly but by one who had to have his shadow sewn back on.”

BRIANNA: This is the worst review we've ever had.

ANDREW: Does he know he's supposed to be reviewing the show that he's watching?

BRIANNA: It's like he had nothing to say, so he just word vomited onto the paper and turned it in.

ANDREW: That little girl was Albert Einstein.

BRIANNA: He doesn't even have a daughter.

ANDREW: “You'll never believe what my five-year-old just said. They turned to me and they said, ’Racism is only age old and in the past, we didn't used to have it. We can get rid of it. Again.’ My five-year-old said this.

JESS: “My five-year-old turned to me and she said ‘I don't want a PS5 this year. I just want you to get me an LLC or something.’ And I’m like, ‘I'm so proud of you, growing up to be the –‘”

(Laugh break)

JESS: “My five-year-old turned to me and she said, ‘Does Jesus touch himself?’ and I'm like, ‘I'm so proud of you.’”

ANDREW: “I'm so proud of you.”

JESS: “My pleasure was her pleasure.”

ANDREW: “My five-year-old daughter just came out as Albert Einstein. And I'm so proud. I'm so proud.

JESS: “She gave me the two okay signs as if to say, ‘the white race is superior.’”

BRIANNA: I say we just end it there.

ANDREW: That's it.

BRIANNA: That's it. This was a great show.

ANDREW: This is the worst review I think we've ever read. Can we start doing episodes like this? Where we're just like, “Oh, yeah, Peter Pan. I was watching it. And I turned and I saw a little girl and she gave me an A-Okay sign, and man it just reminded me of the time where I was riding on a rainbow cloud and I was just, oh, it was so lovely. And wow.”

JESS: The best part is that it was during the Ugg-a-Wugg number that she turned and gave the A-Ok.

ANDREW: It’s so surreal.

JESS: The New York Times published that in an actual newspaper, guys.

ANDREW: “It was during the Ugg-a-Wugg number that a little girl gave me the A-Ok sign -

JESS: - In a rainbow-colored cardigan.”

ANDREW: If that came up today, you'd be like, “Oh, man, there's little kids that are Nazis? I guess PewDiePie did radicalize ‘em.”

BRIANNA: Should that be our next shirt? The little girl with the okay sign?

JESS: Please, someone draw this for us. Like, someone out there who is very good at art. Go out and draw this for us.

BRIANNA: And we will put it on a shirt.

JESS: We will. And we’ll pay you for it. We need to see what this looks like.

ANDREW: I feel like this whole review could be like a fucking 4chan meme or something.

JESS: “My daughter turned to me and said ‘Why does the people hate President Trump? Don't they know that he's what God chose?’ And I cried. And I was so proud.”

ANDREW: Did you see that video I sent you earlier on Twitter? The girl who made the tiktok and was crying?

JESS: “And she turned to me and cried, ‘What going to happen to our Second Amendment rights?’ My five-year-old, I'm so proud of you.”

ANDREW: All right, Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. We're just gonna leave. We're done.

JESS: Hey, guys, how about we go into a mid-show announcement.

ANDREW: Oh boy, a mid-show announcement?

JESS: Yeah.

ANDREW: Sure thing.

(Mid-show)

JESS: Let's talk about I've Gotta Crow.

(I’ve Gotta Crow plays)

ANDREW: Oh, I've Gotta Crow. Is this the Peter Pan song where he's kind of just singing about how great he is?

JESS: Yes, it is that.

ANDREW: I don't really know. All of the songs in this show are kind of old-time musical style.

JESS: That’s the reason I brought this up to you earlier today. Because it's interesting -

ANDREW: Yeah, that there's, like, two -

JESS: Two sets of composers. So you've got one set that wrote a majority of it. And you've got different composers and lyricists. Then you got the super famous one of Jule Styne and Comden and Green, who wrote a bunch of other songs that are mixed in there.

ANDREW: I think I've Gotta Crow song is okay. I'm not super impressed by it personally, but -

JESS: Well, which composing team do you think did it is my first thing?

ANDREW: I honestly have no idea. I don't know the style.

JESS: It's not a style, it's just quality and memorability because I don't like I've Gotta Crow. It's pointless and it should be in the “I want” song section and it isn’t. It is a song about how great I am.

ANDREW: I think it is an “I want” song if Peter Pan wants himself so badly. That’s about all he wants.

JESS: I mean, he wants to be loved. He wants to be adored.

ANDREW: He wants his mommy. On the real, Peter Pan's “I want” song should be like, “Give me mommy” or something.

JESS: “I want a mother please.”

ANDREW: He's like Homelander.

JESS: He really is though. Yeah, you say that, now I can't get out my head. Yeah, Peter Pan is Homelander. He can fly too. He's got his band of Lost Boys that he thinks are dispensable.

ANDREW: Yep. And he kills if they don't obey him.

JESS: Yeah, exactly. Man. You've opened my eyes here. But no, that was done by Charlap and Leigh, who is the lesser-known ones, and they did a majority of these. And I don't much like the songs that they did. And I don't think they're as pervasive. But now we're gonna go on to another song that I think is much better called Never Never Land.

(Never Never Land plays)

ANDREW: Yeah, this is uh, where he's just describing where he's from or whatever.

JESS: Yeah. And it's beautiful. It's poetic. Like, melodically it is gorgeous. It is kind of the one recurring theme through it, it ends the show.

ANDREW: Yeah, this whole Act One kind of just feels like filler in a way. Like a lot of it. But this particular song is pretty good. I just don't know if it has much story drive to it at all.

JESS: I mean, it kind of sets up the world in a way that we need to do because we as human beings that know the story of Peter Pan back and forth just because of cultural things, we don't need that. We know what Neverland is just from context.

ANDREW: Never Never Land. Neverland is a different place.

JESS: That's where Michael Jackson had his backyard.

ANDREW: Yes.

JESS: Never Never Land is this fantasy world and you kind of want to build it up as an idea so that when you get there in Act Two, it kind of can surpass your expectations. And I think this is a beautiful way to do that. And spoilers: This is done by Jule Styne, Comden and Green, which explains why it sounds so different than anything else in this first act. Like, I don't really want to talk about I'm Flying but I'm Flying is so simple -

ANDREW: The only thing of note about I'm Flying is the effects that is going on while it’s happening.

JESS: Yes. The lyrics are just like, “Look at me way up high, suddenly here I am. I'm flying.” That is repeated over and over.

ANDREW: “Wow, they're doing it.” Honestly, when I'm thinking of the I’m Flying, I'm actually thinking of the Disney song, I think.

JESS: (sings) “You can fly, you can - ” That one.

ANDREW: Yeah. That's a better song I think.

JESS: Yes, and that's kind of a part and parcel reason why a lot of Peter Pan musicals don't work. Where you’re just kind of like, “I'm trapped in the Disney version”, which I feel like a lot of times is sidesteps by doing something completely different.

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESS: But in here, there's only so many ways you can say “I can fly” or “I am flying.”

ANDREW: Yeah, I mean, maybe you could write the song differently. I think you probably could have had them start flying while he's singing the Never Never Land song.

JESS: Yeah, but that is supposed to be an intimate moment between Peter and Wendy.

ANDREW: Yeah. Maybe they could have just written a different song for when they fly.

JESS: Or just have like a - Like, I'm Flying works. It's just not a particularly memorable song. In the first, like, let's say... How long is that opening scene? Like 30? 45 minutes? The first act.

ANDREW: I want to say, probably yeah. Probably like 40 minutes.

JESS: There's only one song that I like and it's Never Never Land and it's by Comden and Green and Jule Styne.

ANDREW: Yeah, but I mean you like all the stuff with the dog right?

JESS: I like the book. I think the book is great but that's by J.M. Barrie that comes from the original actual book. Novel.

ANDREW: Right well, let's go to Act Two. What’s good in Act Two?

JESS: I really like Hook’s Tango.

(Hook’s Tango plays)

ANDREW: I think all the stuff where Hook calls up his band is hilarious. Like, the pirates are just always on the ready to play a song for.

JESS: Actually, now that I think about it. Hook’s Tango isn't really a song. It's more like a patter of ideas. There's no melody. He's just like kind of spitting out ideas.

ANDREW: Yeah, but it's funny.

JESS: It is funny, but I think there's a better song and Act Three that I think is the best version of it.

ANDREW: You mean Hook’s Waltz?

JESS: Yes. We'll talk about that later.

ANDREW: I think the joke keeps getting funnier, though, because the pirates are just ready to play music. They're just like –

JESS: It is hilarious. But I think Hook’s Tango and also the Tarantella are both not as good as Hook’s Waltz.

ANDREW: Hook’s Waltz is the climax of the joke. The first two are kind of like, “Hey, we're setting it up, but it's gonna be big.”

JESS: Yeah, we'll talk about that later. But once again, everything in Act Two except for a few decided differences are mostly by Carolyn Leigh and Moose Charlap.

ANDREW: Act Two feels a bit weak. I don't remember that many songs from Act Two. I do remember Ugg-a-Wugg.

JESS: I want to talk about one before there. We'll get there. Believe me. We can't avoid that song. We got to get there.

ANDREW: Okay.

JESS: I want to talk about Wendy for a minute.

ANDREW: Okay.

(Wendy plays)

ANDREW: What do you got to say about this one?

JESS: This is another Jule Styne, Comden and Green one. It is melodic. It is an actual verse-chorus-verse musical number.

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESS: And it works in a way where you kind of understand the reason why people want Wendy around and their goals for her. Whereas in the book - in the novelization of the novel of Peter Pan, they keep saying, “I want to have a mother just because I want to have a mother” because the idea of motherhood is so appealing to Lost Boys and people that don't have parents, which kind of works, but also you get that Oedipal feeling from it, especially because Wendy’s so in love with Peter and wants to kiss him at every turn, and all that. Which, there is that Oedipus complex side of that. Where I think this song does a good league of work to get you to feel the innocence of it, where they describe the specific things they want from Wendy, which is, “we want her to tell us stories, make us pockets, and be nice to us and help guide us”, which is missing throughout all the other versions. And I feel like this does a good league of work towards that.

ANDREW: So you think it's better to have actual reasons and not have it just be “I want mommy”.

JESS: Yes. “I want mommy drink milky and penis.”

ANDREW: No. You can't just drop a Pete Buttigieg quote right in the middle of the episode. All right, Ugg-a-Wugg.

JESS: One more.

ANDREW: What? You got another one you want to talk about?

JESS: This one's actually famous and it’s me giving Charlap and Leigh credit for what it's worth.

ANDREW: Okay.

JESS: So, Charlap and Leigh wrote I Won't Grow Up, which is probably the most famous song from this.

(I Won’t Grow Up plays)

ANDREW: I've never heard of it.

JESS: It is so prevalent outside of this musical that I heard it like 45 times before I even saw this musical. And I saw this musical when I was very young. I was like, four. It's the only one that has had a life outside of this. And also kind of does a good league of storytelling effort for Peter Pan. But it's also completely superfluous and kind of useless because we've already set up Peter Pan didn't want to grow up.

ANDREW: Yeah, we set that up, like, literally the first time we met him.

JESS: But iconic is iconic and things that live the test of time are worth bringing up. And this is one of the songs from this that has aged particularly well is still being some today by like - I sang it in my choir as a child with a bunch of other kids. Like, it is an important song.

ANDREW: How do I not know about these things?

JESS: You didn’t grow up as the theater kid, like literally a kid put into theater.

ANDREW: I must grow up under rocks or something. I've never heard of this song. Before I watched it.

JESS: I mean, yeah, but it was pretty famous for my time. But also, I was kind of always in that world.

ANDREW: Alright, can we talk about fucking Ugg-a-Wugg now?

JESS: Yes, we can talk about Ugg-a-Wugg.

(Ugg-a-Wugg plays)

ANDREW: I like all the drum stuff, it's cool.

JESS: That was added for the 90s production. So, we're gonna talk about this.

ANDREW: Well, the production is great then.

JESS: Give us some context of why Ugg-a-Wugg is being sung.

ANDREW: Oh, god, Is there context? Uh, the Lost Boys and the Indians have a like a treaty thing.

JESS: Yeah, they have a peace pipe and all that.

ANDREW: Yeah, and they're gonna help fight the pirates.

JESS: Yes. And this song was basically like, “Yeah, we were friends now” song.

ANDREW: Yeah, uh, I honestly don't have any real opinion on the Ugg-a-Wugg thing other than –

JESS: The Ugg-a-Wugg isn't a thing though.

ANDREW: Yeah, other than, like, don't Ugg-a-Wugg? What? Don't do that.

JESS: Don’t Ugg-a-Wugg.

ANDREW: The drums are cool though. I like all the drum stuff that they did in the version that I saw.

JESS: Yes, and that was a 90s edition because Stomp had just come out and they're like, “You know, we want to do that in our thing.”

ANDREW: What came out?

JESS: Stomp. You know, that musical? Well, not really a musical. That revue where they just bang on trash cans and shit?

ANDREW: Damn, I don't know that. Can we talk about that?

JESS: It's just a bunch of musicians banging on trash cans.

ANDREW: Is it like Blue Man Group but like earlier?

JESS: Yes, it is exactly like Blue Man Group. Not as fun as Blue Man Group.

ANDREW: Okay, Blue Man Group’s kind of cool. This is kind of cool. Like the whole drum thing. I think it's cool.

JESS: I think it looks incredible. Like, it is great and I wish they would keep it in other productions but also it's probably racist in ways that we don't even know. Ugg-a-Wugg’s a really racist song, guys.

ANDREW: If you're going to have a song called Ugg-a-Wugg and you're worried that the drum part is going to be racist, come on. Get out of here.

JESS: But in the more recent Christopher Walken production, they do change it up a bit to be a little more progressive.

ANDREW: Yeah, we talked about it. What do they call it?

JESS: Oh-hey?

ANDREW: Oh-hey.

JESS: I think that's it.

ANDREW: What does that mean?

JESS: Let’s find out. Actually, Bree, can you look up what the Indian translation lyrics in the most recent production of Peter Pan - What it means.

ANDREW: I'm interested to see what the lyrics they came up with for the song mean.

JESS: That is a good point and something I have not even thought about, cus they were kind of like jerking themselves off about like, “We hired all indigenous people. And then we had an indigenous reference to make sure that we were doing this the best way.”

ANDREW: “We wanted to make sure our racial stereotypes were as accurate as possible.”

JESS: “Yeah, we want to make sure our stereotypes are accurate.”

(True Blood Brothers/Oh-hey plays)

JESS: Okay, can I just read to you what the consultant had to say about Ugg-a-Wugg? Because I feel like that's worth bringing up.

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESS: So, he was asked about his relationship between coming into this new Peter Pan production, and being a consultant as the Native American person. He said, “I'll tell you exactly what I helped address. There were three things that I was able to bring to the table to help reconstitute the piece. The first thing is the opening rhythm. There’s this very clever col legno that’s done with the strings in the very opening that sounds drum-like but also sounds stick-like, which is actually accurate to the Northeastern part of the country with Indians. We adjusted the accents of these constant eighth-note beats so it sounded more like an Iroquois smoke dance, rather than a stereotypical ONE-two-three-four, ONE-two-three-four, ONE-two-three-four, you know, that kind of thing. So we adjusted the opening rhythm so it sounded more authentic. It’s a small cleanup.” Then the person asks “But it moves that rhythm from being generic, and so stereotypical, to something specific, and therefore authentic?” And he said, “Yes, and the trick is — to be honest with you, most Americans aren’t going to know the difference. But at least we do. Intellectually we know, and musically we know, there was a small adjustment. It still sounds a little stereotypical. That can’t go away. Because we were also preserving the integrity of the original compositions and those original compositions were very stereotypical, but they weren’t just stereotypical about Indians. They’re stereotypical about all kinds of things they address within “Peter Pan.” That’s musical theater. That’s something we accept about musical theater. Musical theater thrives on stereotypes. The next example is what I call the “Indian Breakdown.” In the “Ugg-a-Wugg” song — it’s a really campy, British musical theater song, and then it has the “Indian Breakdown,” where you have that tune that goes [hums the musical interlude]. It’s this stereotypical, Indian-sounding thing. We were kind of looking for different tunes, but it doesn’t matter what tune you use because the flavor of it is that stereotypical Indian sound. So the musical director was brilliant. He added some different rhythms in there and all that. And then the really big thing that we worked on was the replacement of [the lyrics] “ugg-a-wugg.” Just a little background: In general, what we all know is that the Indian tribe that’s represented in Peter Pan was influenced by knowledge of Northeast Indians of the United States. So we’re talking Iroquois, Huron, Wyandotte, Algonquin, these kinds of cultural regions. So what I did was I set out to find a replacement word for “ugg-a-wugg” that was literally a Wyandotte word. The actual words haven’t been revealed yet” cus they didn’t do it, so I’m still very curious what they did. But that's what he went into the musical trying to do with Ugg-a-Wugg and how they changed it from being a little less racist. That answer your question, Andrew?

ANDREW: It didn't fully answer my question. But you know what? I feel a little more educated, so - I think our audience is equally more educated.

JESS: Boy, aren't we progressive?

ANDREW: We've really done it here. We've solved racism yet again. We just keep doing it.

JESS: Every week, we just keep on - you know, we’re fixing racism. Us three white people, we fix racism.

ANDREW: But you didn't do anything.

JESS: We fix Peter Pan.

ANDREW: All right. So, you want to talk about what? Distant Melody?

JESS: Yes.

(Distant Melody plays)

ANDREW: Act Two closer and it's not the end of the show? That's a new one.

JESS: Distant Melody, I think, is an actively beautiful song. Like, it is gorgeous. For one, it recharacterizes Peter Pan as someone that has a lot of baggage from his past. Do you actually know what happened with Peter Pan. Like, his origin story? They don't really go into it here. They tried to in the live version with Christopher Walken and it's bad, but it's important for the song.

ANDREW: Didn’t he run away? And then he thought that his parents replaced him? That's what they did this song, isn't it?

JESS: Yeah. So, he runs away as an infant, Tinker Bell finds him takes him to Neverland, then he comes back wanting to see his parents again. And they had a second child. And he says they replaced him.

ANDREW: Yeah, so he's literally a selfish idiot.

JESS: Yes.

ANDREW: But I guess we knew that.

JESS: But that characterizes this song where he's nostalgic for his actual mother and remembers his actual mother.

ANDREW: Yeah, so really the villain is Tinker Bell.

JESS: I mean, that's always been the case. Like, even in the Disney movie, she partners up with Captain Hook.

ANDREW: Yeah, but Tinker Bell actually kind of kidnaps a baby?

JESS: Yeah. It's even weirder in the movie Hook, where she's played by Julia Roberts and she's adult Julia Roberts kidnapping infant Peter Pan, and then falls in love with infant Peter Pan when he becomes Robin Williams?

ANDREW: Wow, that's a nice.

JESS: What do you think of this song, Andrew?

ANDREW: I don't mind the song that much. I kind of questioned the placement of it a little bit. Just as like this... I mean, I guess we have a three-act show, it's weird? I kind of imagined this would be like the Act One closer in a traditional show the way they have it set up. But like, it doesn't set up anything.

JESS: No it doesn't. It’s just painting Peter Pan's backstory and trying to make you feel a little sorry for him.

ANDREW: Yeah, which it doesn't do a great job of because as anyone other than a small child watching, you're like, “Wait, his parents probably didn't replace him. He was in Neverland. They probably thought he died.”

JESS: I would be very interested in an adaptation of Peter Pan actually addressing his relationship with his brother?

ANDREW: I mean he probably went back and killed his brother at some point.

JESS: That sounds like something Peter Pan would do, to be honest.

ANDREW: (as a murderous Pan) “You replaced me! Aaaahh!”

JESS: Stabs him with a fucking dagger. Alright, the final song we got to talk about is Captain Hook’s Waltz, which is the only Captain Hook song written by Comden and Green and Jule Styne. And it is the best Captain Hook song.

(Hook’s Waltz plays)

ANDREW: It's actually a pretty good one. I like it.

(Andrew and Jess sing it)

ANDREW: It’s good. It kind of gets you really pumped up about Captain Hook.

JESS: It really does.

ANDREW: Right before he dies which kinda stinks.

JESS: Yeah, it kinda does. And he, like, voluntarily dies in a weird way.

ANDREW: Yeah, it's just like, “Man, You're really gonna let Peter Pan win, after we just got that song about Captain Hook?”

JESS: About how fucking awesome he – That’s the last non-reprise of the musical.

ANDREW: Yeah. The last one is kind of the actual villain song.

JESS: The rest of it is like Tender Shepherd reprise, “we will grow up,” which is... Yeah. This is the most fun song in the show. The best Captain Hook number and Captain Hook has like a lot of fun numbers.

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESS: And the epitome of why the Comden and Green and Jule Styne songs work so much better than all the rest. If you look on the actual Peter Pan Wikipedia page, I was shocked to discover that all the songs that I liked were the Comden and Green and Jule Styne ones. And all the ones that I was like, eeeeeehhhh, were the Moose Charlap and Carolyn Leigh. You know? I don't much like all the rest of them. So maybe, Jule Styne, and Comden and Green probably should have written the rest of the musical in my opinion.

ANDREW: I don't know, it might have been a coincidence, Jess.

JESS: Maybe that one critic was right and this is a patchwork show.

ANDREW: I mean, that seems pretty obvious if there's this many writers on it.

JESS: Yeah. I think we've made it to the end which means Andrew, what is your overall thoughts on Peter Pan and your cheese rating?

ANDREW: Um, all right, my overall thoughts? Well, it's okay. I mean, if you have a little kid, they'll probably enjoy it more than you will. If you have a little girl in a rainbow cardigan, I mean, I guess they're gonna really enjoy it.

JESS: They're gonna enjoy the racism of Ugg-a-Wugg.

ANDREW: They're gonna flash you that okay sign. I don't know, there's parts of it that I did really like, namely, anytime Captain Hook was on screen. And there was parts that I was kind of just like, “Man, be nice if this ended soon.” Yeah, Act Three is where it really gets good. I feel like Act One and Two are kind of a drag for most of it. But Act Three is pretty fun. Pretty nice. Let's see. Cheese rating? Well, I actually just found out from Google searching here, there is a small mouse named Cheese in in the Disney franchise Tinker Bell. So, I'm going to give that. That's my cheese rating is this mouse named Cheese from the Tinker Bell movie franchise.

JESS: You know? That's brilliant. I love it. 10/10. I am going to give this... Oh wait, no, Bree. What was your overall rating of our discussion and your cheese rating?

BRIANNA: I thought this was a fantastic discussion. We ripped apart that damn terrible review. We conquered racism once again, boys.

ANDREW: We’re pounding racism into the dirt here at Musicals with Cheese.

BRIANNA: Along with that little girl.

JESS: We beat up that little girl, that racist Nazi little girl, pretending to be an LGBT supporter with her fucking rainbow cardigan.

ANDREW: Oh, crypto fascist over here. That's what she is.

BRIANNA: So, I am going to give that terrible review the worst rated cheese which is I think it's casu marzu.

ANDREW: It sounds like it sounds like it tastes terrible.

BRIANNA: I think it translates to rotten cheese. So that's gonna be my cheese rating this week for that - mainly for that awful review.

JESS: I'm so glad I read that awful review. I think I really brought that to life. To be honest.

BRIANNA: You did. I was a little jealous, but it's okay.

JESS: I'm sorry. We all got one this week. It's a Thanksgiving miracle because Happy Thanksgiving.

ANDREW: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

BRIANNA: Happy Thanksgiving.

JESS: But you know what my cheese rating is? Because I do like this show quite a bit. And it was a nostalgic piece of my childhood. One of my first musicals I saw live. The first musical where I actually met the actors afterwards and talked to them. It was wonderful. But it’s got some things. Everything's got things and it's not perfect. And it was interesting to learn who wrote what songs and how the show came together. And also fuck that review. But my cheese rating is Elvis grilled cheese sandwich, which is a grilled cheese with bananas, bacon, cheese, and peanut butter. And I'm choosing Peter Pan peanut butter.

ANDREW: Disgusting. That actually does sound disgusting, I’m just gonna throw that out there.

JESS: I wanted to squeeze Peter Pan peanut butter in there somewhere.

ANDREW: Peter peanut butter.

JESS: But you know what isn’t disgusting, Andrew?

ANDREW: Our beautiful patrons?

JESS: Our beautiful patrons. Thank you guys for listening

(Credits)

JESS: Just for the record of actual reality, in the bio of every single one of our episodes, please donate to blacklivesmatter. In these times, there's probably going to be a lot of people that need that.

ANDREW: Yeah, cus we are actually not solving racism by talking –

JESS: No, we’re not doing a goddamn thing. We're honestly just hurt – Honestly, if anything we're hurting the problems out there.

ANDREW: We’re hurting racism, fellas. You heard it from Jess, he said it.

JESS: I guess solving racism is a lot like hurting racism. Alright guys, do we have anything else left to say before we wrap this up on this beautiful Thanksgiving morning?

BRIANNA: Happy Thanksgiving.

JESS: Happy Thanksgiving. (sings Ugg-a-Wugg)

ANDREW: We have unsolved racism.

JESS: Racism’s back. All right, guys, we'll see you next time on Musicals with Cheese.

--

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Pan_(1954_musical)

Walter Kerr’s review: https://www.nytimes.com/1979/09/07/archives/stage-soaring-in-peter-pan-up-up-and-away.html

Mel Gussow’s review: https://www.nytimes.com/1990/12/14/theater/review-theater-and-the-boy-still-won-t-grow-up.html

Peter Marks’ review: https://www.nytimes.com/1997/02/07/theater/peter-pan-is-reborn-and-all-go-soaring.html

Native American consultant, Jerod Tate, in replacing Ugg-a-Wugg: https://www.salon.com/2014/11/21/we_had_to_replace_the_lyrics_ugg_a_wugg_meet_the_native_american_consultant_who_worked_on_nbcs_peter_pan/

“I won’t grow up!” This week Jess & Andrew talk about the wonderful children’s musical with a few “Yikes”-moments — Peter Pan. They talk about the Native American representation, goofy villains, and the worst NYT review ever. It’s a blast!

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