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Finding Peter Pan

A look back at the legendary Lost Boy’s life on stage

When Finding Neverland opens on April 15, it will bring the story of how Peter Pan scribe J.M. Barrie wrote his most famous creation to the Broadway stage. And while Peter Pan has appeared in countless mediums—from books to cartoons and feature films—the theater has always had a special appreciation for the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Here, we look back at some of the greatest Pans to grace the stage.


It was just a few years into the Twentieth Century that Maude Adams—a Barrie favorite who would become the most successful performer of her time—debuted the character of Peter Pan on Broadway, become the first in a long line of women to play the young boy.


Mary Martin might be the most famous Peter Pan of them all. Her first turn in the role, in a 1954 Broadway production, won her a Tony Award, and she would later go on to play Pan in a TV production that won her an Emmy.


Pan was a good luck charm for yet another actress—Sandy Duncan starred in a Broadway revival and the role garnered the actress a 1980 Tony Award. 


Former gymnast Cathy Rigby took on the role of Peter Pan in 1974, a year into her retirement from sports, and would play Pan off and on—earning a 1991 Tony nomination—until 2013. 


Adam Chanler-Barat played the titular imp in the Broadway production of Peter and the Starcatcher, the award-winning musical adaptation of a novel, co-directed by Alex Timbers and Roger Rees. 


While Pan himself isn’t the focus of Finding Neverland, the show doesn’t lack star power. Matthew Morrison plays J.M. Barrie and Kelsey Grammer is on hand as Captain Hook, making the case that Peter Pan’s history of winning hearts (and awards) probably isn’t over just yet.