Cathy Rigby flies again
Cathy Rigby reprises her role as the title character in the national touring production of “Peter Pan.”
‘Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan’
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, Chicago
Jan. 30-Feb. 10
(800) 775-2000; www.broadwayinchicago.com
Updated: January 23, 2013 11:04AM
The title says it all: “Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan.”
Since 1990, when the former Olympic gymnast first played the boy who never grows up, Cathy Rigby has been inextricably entwined with the leader of the Lost Boys. With Rigby at the helm (she and her husband produce the show), the musical has had four Broadway runs and received four Tony Award nominations.
Rigby called it quits as Peter Pan following the 2004-2005 tour, but Neverland’s mischief maker continued to beckon to her. The siren call proved irresistible and Rigby is once again touring the nation in what she says is her last time soaring through the air as Peter Pan.
“I thought if I can still do this better, if we can add some new elements to it, if I’m believable — you know I just decided I would love to do it again,” she said of her return to the role. “To play in Neverland at night and to make people happy, and revive memories of folks who have enjoyed it in the past has just been actually kind of wonderful.”
After 12 years, how does 60-year-old Rigby make herself believable as an impish boy and keep the show fresh?
Certainly her petite frame and pixie looks help, but Rigby believes it comes down to taking care of herself and training hard.
“I have to say that when started this tour I said to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, can I do this?’ And I didn’t want to compromise at all, and so I trained a lot,” she said. And like her alter-ego Peter Pan, she thought, “Why not? Why can’t I?”
“I think what I love about playing the role of Peter is that he’s eternally optimistic and he can [be] because he never grows up,” she added. “It’s about not being old mentally more than anything. It’s about believing in possibilities and believing at 60 I can do this.”
Not surprisingly flying — the double wires used for this production allow Peter to soar like never before — is Rigby’s favorite part of the show.
“I feel like I’m doing gymnastics once again only without worrying about falling. So you can really close your eyes and the wind is in your hair and there’s, you know, it’s just like in your dreams, like you’re spinning around. I let go and just trust.”