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Wish Upon a Star

Dec 05, 2017 09:52PM ● By Elena Hutslar

Peter Pan Foundation Brings Musical Theatre to Special Audiences

By Gina Campo

On November 11, The Peter Pan Foundation (PPF) brought their music and magic to the Orinda Community Center, giving two special performances for audiences who would not normally be able to enjoy live theatre. The shows, a modified version of the foundation’s annual Memorial Day spectacular, Wish Upon a Star, was specifically produced for special needs children from Easterseals Bay Area (ESBA) and the children at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Oakland. While the first performance for ESBA was performed to a packed live audience, the second performance was filmed so it could be shown in patient rooms at the hospital.

When describing why The PPF was providing these specialty performances, founder Leslie Noel explained, “It is so important to provide live theatre opportunities to everyone, including our friends with special needs. In The PPF, we embrace everyone's beautiful differences and work to help make everyone feel included.”

Stacey Murphy, senior programs manager for Easterseals Bay Area, is especially thankful for the partnership with the Peter Pan Foundation. “I am very grateful to The PPF for bringing so much joy to our clients and for giving our families an opportunity to enjoy a magical, inclusive event. I have been consistently impressed with the kindness and enthusiasm that every PPF character shows our children.” 

While the event was a special occasion for the audience of special needs children and their families, the experience was equally rewarding for the performers. “Having the opportunity to provide a safe and loving environment for the children of Easterseals Bay Area to experience the magic of The PPF live was incredible,” explained Nadya Jatoft, president of The PPF teen council, Bay Area Magic Makers.

As magical as the first performance was, the second show was equally inspiring. Founder Leslie Noel explains how the performance for Children’s Hospital Oakland started more than 10 years ago.

“Our very first Children’s Hospital Oakland (CHO) show was in 2006, with our original Peter Pan, Steffen Ryge. We lost him to a tragic car accident just months later. Visiting the hospital that year ended up serving as the inspiration behind PPF's philanthropic endeavors. Since then, we have kept up the beloved annual tradition of performing for the patients at CHO. I am so delighted to know that our show will once again be bringing magic to the lives of so many patients while bringing a little piece of Steffen back to life, too.”

Twas the Opening Night Before Christmas, December 8-10

To experience some of the PPF magic for yourself, come enjoy their upcoming holiday show, ‘Twas the Opening Night Before Christmas, December 8-10, at Northgate High School. The show features favorite holiday classics and is a heartwarming story of love, hope, and holiday cheer the whole family will enjoy. Show times and ticket information can be found at

Photo: The PPF Princesses. Photo by Luke Rodriguez