Westerville North High School's spring production is meant to be one thing: Uplifting.
As the district began to recover from a failed levy and budget cuts, many of which hurt the arts departments, North theater Director Kim Mollohan wanted to turn the schools' spirits around.
Last year's strong show receipts and a few extra fundraisers allowed Mollohan to plan an over-the-top production of Peter Pan -- complete with flying actors.
"We needed to soar," Mollohan said. "When so many things were being taken away, we needed a pick-me-up. We needed pixie dust."
Peter Pan will be performed at 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28-March 2, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 3. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at wnsports.info. Tickets are for reserved seating.
Peter Pan was a natural choice for Mollohan, who said her mother used to read it to her when she was a child.
"It's one of my favorite children's stories," she said.
Her enthusiasm was shared by her students.
"I said the title of this year's musical, and the screams were deafening," Mollohan said. "I knew we picked a good show."
While the show is a light-hearted tale about a boy who wouldn't grow up, the production isn't without its pains.
The harnesses needed for flying are uncomfortable and leave the actors who wear them a little worse for wear. Peter Pan, played by senior Meg Hollobaugh, had one collision with a bed on the set as the students became familiar with the logistics of "flying."
"You get a lot of bruises," Hollobaugh said.
Nonetheless, the students say the production is well worth the trouble.
"You don't get to do a lot of flying," said sophomore Kevin C. Vestal, who plays John Darling. "This is something we'll remember for a long time."
Even for the students who don't fly, the production holds a lot of fun, said senior Andrew White, who doubles as Mr. Darling and Captain Hook.
"I love it. It's a break from my normal day-to-day character," White said of playing one of literature's best known villains.
The play also has introduced the students, familiar with the Disney cartoon version, to the musical version based more closely on the original play by J.M. Barrie.
"It was a lot different," said senor Sheryl Sommers, who plays Wendy. "I didn't know the dog as 'Nana' or how the room was set up, or how Peter Pan came to meet the Darling children."
Mollohan said she hopes the audience will be as taken with the show as the North student actors have been.
"They've enjoyed every minute of it," Mollohan said. "It's a joyful, fun show.
"For all of us who are adults, I hope we don't all grow up while we're in the audience."
Dozens of North students are involved in staging the musical.
Cast members include: Peter Pan: Meg Hollobaugh; Tinker Bell: Cody Justice; Mr. Darling/Captain Hook: Andrew White; Tiger Lily: Kaitlin Henderson; Wendy/Grown Up Wendy: Sheryl Sommers; John: Kevin C. Vestal; Michael: Joey Vice; Mrs. Darling: Ruth Payne; Liza: Maggie Madden; Nana: Amy Cox; Crocodile: Ben Prohl; Jane: Samantha Gaston; Lost Boy Slightly: Will Vosler; Lost Boy Curley: Hayley Kirst; Lost Boy Nibs: Caleb Jingo; Lost Boy First Twin: Mattie Cotter; Lost Boy Second Twin: Gavin Conley; Lost Boy Ace: Will Marty; Lost Boy Pockets: Britton Berk; Lost Boy Tootles: Max Iquina; Smee: Dalton Reyburn; Pirate Starkey: James Kaul; Pirate Cecco: Kelly Blaine; Pirate Noodler: Matt Lascheid; Pirate Mullins: Taylor Crumrine; Pirate Bill Jukes: Adam Hollins; Pirate Squid: Ryan Pickens; Pirate Shark Tooth: Jacob Funk; Pirate Scurvy: Jeremy Paul; Pirate Barnacle: Eric Bellner; Indian Dancer Amitola: Jasmine Young; Indian Dancer Kele: Faith Dreisbach; Indian Dancer Takoda: Melissa Borger; Indian Dancer Nakoma: Kayelyn Robinson; Indian Dancer Papoose: Sarah Bright; Indian Dancer Sinopa: Rachel Hurtt; Indian Dancer Maska: Sophie Volpe; Indian Dancer Teetonka: Anna Smales; Indian Dancer Hania: Darienne Marcum.
The production's student directors are Kelly Blaine and James Kaul, with Joelle Marshall serving as the director's assistant/stage manager and Kaitlin Henderson as dance captain.
Crew members include: Emmy Acrea, Ryan Acrea, Diana Asta, Abby Baker, Amy Cox, Skylar Cherry, Emma Dumford, Jennifer Finkelstein, Chase Gardner, Dylan Henthorne, Drew Hollobaugh, Josh Jenkins, Philip Johnson, Cody Justice, Joelle Marshall, Maria Milnes, Megan Morris, Katie Potter, Ethan Prohl, Dakota Reyburn, Kayli Rohal, Sean Shinnock, Kira Stansberry, Erin Upp and Matt Wollam.
Orchestra members include: Diane Blain, Maisha Hossaim, Mindy Nufer, Summer Lybarger, David Harris, Tiffany Lee, Nick Prculovski, Madison Richards, Daniel Braden, Ben Guegold, Ruben Morgan, Hayley Schutz, Chris Skudder, Brian Diep, Matt Gambill, Megan Patterson, Whitney Ross, Paige Wilson, Elizabeth Mygrant, Carmen Stone, Matthew Patterson, Morgan Pearce, Jacob Sampson, Daniel Mollett, Anna Ellsworth, Janece Nufer and David O'Connor.