Drayton Entertainment has announced that up-and-coming performer AJ Bridel will play the title role in Peter Pan. This larger-than-life production is set to shine at the new Dunfield Theatre Cambridge for a five-week run over the holiday season, from November 20th to December 22nd.
Bridel became a household name last fall as a finalist on CBC's hit reality TV series Over The Rainbow, which saw Canadians vote for a young performer to play Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber's revival of The Wizard of Oz in Toronto. Although the role ultimately went to La Salle, Ontario native Danielle Wade, Bridel was a strong contender who wowed audiences with her stellar performances of well-loved songs like "Mambo Italiano", "Nobody Does It Better" and "Feeling Good" as well as musical theatre showstoppers "One Night Only", "All That Jazz" and "Memory" among others each week.
"AJ is a terrific performer with just the right qualities for this iconic role," says Alex Mustakas, Artistic Directory of Drayton Entertainment. "Her youthful energy and great voice make her a natural choice for Peter Pan."
The role of Peter in Peter Pan is historically played by a girl. Broadway legend Mary Martin won a Tony Award for her portrayal of the mischievous boy who won't grow-up in 1954 and famous gymnast Cathy Rigby has appeared in the role on various national tours for almost two decades.
18-year old Bridel grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo and graduated last spring from the Integrated Arts Program at Eastwood Collegiate Institute, where Mustakas also attended high school. Bridel was accepted to the Musical Theatre Program at Sheridan College, but her post-secondary training was put on hold when Andrew Lloyd Webber chose Bridel as a Top Ten finalist for Over The Rainbow. She competed on the show for eight weeks, becoming a fan favourite and winning praise from the judges for her compelling performances and outstanding voice.
"I am beyond excited to play Peter Pan and thrilled to be making my professional theatre debut with Drayton Entertainment," said Bridel. "I have grown up attending productions at the Drayton Festival Theatre, St. Jacobs Country Playhouse and Huron Country Playhouse, so getting to perform with this company is a dream come true."
Prior to her performance in Peter Pan, Bridel will appear this summer as Bet in Oliver! at the King's Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene and the Drayton Festival Theatre in Drayton.
Based on the popular story by J.M. Barrie, this exuberant adaptation is written by Simon Aylin and Trudy Moffatt. The pair has wonderfully preserved the traditional tale and infused it with tons of energy and humor to create a quintessential British pantomime. Theatregoers of all ages can't help being drawn into the hilarity.
Although the Dunfield Theatre Cambridge production is months away, tickets for Peter Pan are selling quickly with certain performances already sold out. Theatregoers are encouraged to call the Box Office as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Peter Pan runs from November 20th through December 22nd. Tickets can be purchased in person at Dunfield Theatre Cambridge, online at www.dunfieldtheatrecabridge.com or by calling the Box Office at (519) 519-621-8000 or toll free at 1-855-drayton (372-9866).