Back-of-the-napkin-history of Peter Pan:

Back-of-the-napkin-history of Peter Pan:

Before it was a play, “Peter Pan” was a small story in a book written by Scottish novelist James Matthew Barrie. Later Barrie himself turned “The Little White Bird” into a play, “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.” Initially the script was rejected by producers because the production was thought to be too elaborate: in addition to numerous and elaborate set changes, in 1904, plays generally did not call for special effects such as flying.

Once it got on the boards, however, the story of Pan, Wendy, Michael and John in a Neverland teeming with Indians, pirates, and fairies was a smash. In the end, the well-heeled Barrie donated the rights to his play to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children.

More for trivia buffs: the idea to have Pan played by a woman originates with Barrie too. He cast a female in the first London production not for the quality of her voice or ease in flying a lithe young thing, but because 1904 laws did not allow minors onstage after 9 p.m. Moving the clock back on the curtain would have inconvenienced high-society patrons, who favored cocktails over fairy dust to fly high. Ever since, the idea that a female could play a 14-year-old boy better than a 14-year-old boy took hold.

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