Review: “Finding Neverland” brings magic to Stephens Auditorium


The cast of “Finding Neverland” performing musical number “Believe” on Good Morning America.

Cameron Bristow

“Finding Neverland” brought a unique and magical night to the Stephens Auditorium stage on Friday.

The critically-acclaimed musical, which ran on Broadway from 2015 to 2016, made a one-night-only appearance in Ames this week.

The music tells the story of playwright J.M. Barrie and the relationships and reflection that inspired him to write Peter Pan, and it truly was a unique theatre event.

Playing to an invested and imitate crowd, audiences were mesmerized by the beautiful story, marvelous music and stellar acting. The ensemble immediately formed a connection with onlookers, with the passion of the leads, the sense of wonder in the four child actors and Oscar the Dog (played by an actual dog) resonating with the crowd.

Above all the show’s shining element may lie in their unique approach to visual storytelling. The breathtaking set and costuming took viewers to the heart of 1900’s London. The show’s revolutionary use of projectors allows playgoers to be in an immersive environment of traveling the sea, flying amongst the clouds and experiencing the inner-workings of the character’s minds. 

Theatre is often beloved for the impact it leaves on its audience and “Finding Neverland” leaves viewers emotionally resonated in a way most musicals can’t.

It’s by far no feeling of sadness or heartache, but rather an experience where everybody can feel a sense of inspiration, joy and elevation upon seeing the true and heartwarming events that led to the creation of Peter Pan as we know it today.

It shows the beauty in releasing your inner child, and everybody can relate and take something away from this experience. Viewers are inspired to see how there is so much wonder around you in the world. Whether this was someone’s first or one-hundredth theatre experience, everybody was smiling throughout.

“Finding Neverland” played as part of the Iowa State Center’s Performing Arts series. A unique feature to these shows is the center’s use of their new “Celebrity Café” where they host a speaker that discusses the respective musical and craft. This serves as a fun experience for community members and theatre fans to learn more and engage in meaningful conversation with one another.