Finding Neverland and City Kitchen

Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer, photo by Carol Rosegg.
The new musical Finding Neverland is based on the 2004 film. Matthew Morrison plays the sensitive Scottish playwright, author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie. One afternoon in London’s Kensington Park, Barrie stumbles upon Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (the fabulous Laura Michelle Kelly, aka Mary Poppins), with her four lovely sons and their shaggy dog. Carolee Carmello is powerful as Sylvia’s mother, the famous mystery writer Daphne du Maurier. The family releases the playwright from writer’s block, and one of the boys becomes the inspiration for Barrie’s indelible creation, the boy who never grew up. The boys rotate the role of Peter.

Arden, our nine-year old reviewer, swooned when the “Glee” star appeared on stage. To us it seemed at first that Matthew Morrison might be phoning it in. Or was it the heavy tweed suit, the Scots accent, and the beard that hid his chiseled chin? He redeems himself in Act 1 when he has a chance to show off his remarkable dancing skills. Mia Michael’s choreography is angular, abrupt, and there are lots of vertical jumps. The choreographed dinner party is a gem.

Kelsey Grammer is delightful and totally present as the curmudgeonly producer and also Captain Hook. His dead-pan delivers. The ensemble actors in the backstage story and Teal Wicks as the first Mrs. Barrie are fun. There is something satisfyingly dark about it all. The pop score by British rocker Gary Barlow is manipulative but sweeps you up. Catharsis comes with sparkling stars, a storm of glitter, and Tinker Bell’s flight. We left feeling shaken and stirred.

Like salted caramel and "large plates," the food court is a trend. Brand new City Kitchen has sushi, Gabriela's Taqueria, Kuro Obi noodles, Luke's Lobster; homemade pita and salads from ilili Box (our best destination); local green pickles, wedge salad, and the Juicy Lucy burger at Whitman's (Arden's best pick), alluring Wooly's Shaved Snow and other vendors. It's a good place to take children, allowing a huge choice and the ability to see the food before ordering.

Rather than eating in the food court, carry your boxes to the spacious adjoining hotel lobby. It's peaceful there, however if you would like less peace, and Mom would like a drink, broad steps lead down to a flourishing bar with a huge movie screen showing vintage rock concerts. 

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