From the novel by J. M. Barrie

Conceived and Created by:
Playwright / Producer- Liza Lorwin
Designer – Julie Archer
Director – Lee Breuer
Composer – Johnny Cunningham


Spoletto Festival USA (May 1996)


Karen Kandel, who originated the role of The Narrator, and the original cast: Basil Twist, Jane Catherine Shaw, Lute Breuer, Sam Hack, Sarah Provost, Jessica Chandlee Smith, Jennifer Subjack, Jay Ansill, Susan McKeown, Jay Peck


On an all-white set representing an Edwardian nursery, a solitary woman arrives home, picks up a beloved book, and reads aloud, both telling the story and speaking the voices of all the other characters, who are brought to life using bunraku-style puppets and scraps of cloth and paper, in a minimalist dreamscape. True to the haunting qualities of J.M. Barrie’s novel (itself a re-writing of the stage-play), the world of this play is essentially wistful. The action remains in the nursery, and yet it is as much about the loss of childhood as about childhood itself, with a sense of fragility crossed by an almost brutal intensity of feeling. Barrie’s novel is, among other things, a book about the power of books. One aim of this production is to put on stage the slightly disturbing elation of being almost though not wholly, absorbed in reading.

Since its full-length premiere in 1996, commissioned by Spoletto Festival USA, Peter and Wendy has been performed in New York on three engagements, at regional theaters in the U.S., and at the Dublin and Edinburgh International Theater Festivals. It received two OBIE Awards: to the creators for “Best Production” and to Karen Kandel for “Outstanding Performance”.


workshop development

Arts at Saint Ann’s Workshop Showing (Brooklyn, New York; 1991)
Arizona State University West (Phoenix Arizona; 1992)
New York Theater Workshop (New York, New York; 1994)


Spoletto Festival USA (Charleston, South Carolina; 1996)


Henson Puppetry Festival (Public Theater, New York City; 1996)
New Victory Theater (New York City, 1997)
Geffen Playhouse (Los Angeles, California; 1997)
Yale Repertory Theater (New Haven, Connecticut; 1997)
Berkeley Repertory Theater (Berkeley, California; 1999)
Dublin Theater Festival (Tivoli Theatre, Dublin; 1999)
New Victory Theater (New York City, 2002)
La Jolla Playhouse (La Jolla, CA; 9/27-11/10/02)
Arena Stage (Washington, DC; 2007)
Edinburgh International Festival (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh; 2009)
New Victory Theater (New York City; 2011)


CD (Alula Records, Distributed by Allegro Records; 1997)


Village Voice OBIE Awards:
Best Production: Creators Julie Archer, Lee Breuer, Johnny Cunningham & Liza Lorwin
Performance: Karen Kandel

DramaLogue Award:
Performance: Karen Kandel

Drama League Award:
Performance: Karen Kandel

Golden Herald Angel Award (Edinburgh International Festival)
Performance: Karen Kandel

American Theater Wing Award:
Design: Julie Archer

UNIMA Citation:
Excellence in Puppetry

San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Award for Excellence in Theater:
Best Solo Performance: Karen Kandel
Best Special Event: “Peter & Wendy” at La Jolla Playhouse

Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards:
Special Award for Outstanding Touring Production at Berkeley Repertory

“What is most uncommon in this production … is the Disney-free depth of understanding of its source material, coupled with profound emotional delicacy.”
-The Times London

“Magnificent and haunting…” ★★★★★
-The Scotsman

-The Herald UK

“So rich in detail is this production that it would repay repeat viewings…”
-The Guardian – UK

“a profoundly magical piece…”
-The Washington Times

“Mother love and loss — of that very love, as well as the loss of innocence, youth and life itself — color the remarkable and poignant revival of the prize winning … production.”
–Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times

“Every once in awhile, something comes along onstage that stops your breath and steals your heart, that reminds you why you go to the theater 120 times a year and makes you grateful for the genius of creation and the brilliance of sheer theatricality. The Mabou Mines production of Peter and Wendy … is so thrillingly magical, it sucks you into its minimalist reality and makes you complicit in its creation. … This version is so palpably bittersweet it grants you the elation of a child while, aching at the same time, you know how far you are from being one. You get the sense of having flown, but are all too aware that you’ll never fly again.”
–Pat Launer, Public Radio 89.5 FM

For touring inquiries please contact
Liza Lorwin at:

Peter & Wendy Puppets at the Katonah Museum of Art