"peter pan"

Published October 17, 1954


Peter Pan, Mary Martin, Cyrl Ritchard, Richard Wyatt, and Don Lurio, 1954



This popular musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s classic play Peter Pan debuted on Broadway in 1954 starring the beloved musical theater icon, Mary Martin. Peter was a role she longed to play and because her performance was preserved on television (and became an annual viewing tradition) she will forever be identified with this character. An emotional peak of the play comes when Peter pleads with the audience to believe in fairies so that Tinkerbell might live. In 1982, Mary Martin, hospitalized with injuries from a nearly fatal car crash, was moved to see a crowd of fans gathered below her window holding signs that read “We believe!” 

Starting with Maude Adams in 1905, Barrie’s tale of a boy who never grew up has been a favorite of actresses, allowing them to revel in its androgyny and giving them the chance… to fly! Hirschfeld’s drawing displays Mary Martin’s exultant freedom as she flies above her appreciative cast.

Charles Busch

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