Catch the Stars

Meet the cast for the upcoming play Peter and the Starcatcher.



The cast of the upcoming play Peter and the Starcatcher.

By Milton Najarro and Kasey Kim

The backstory to one of the most-beloved children’s tales of the last century is coming to the Hubbard Auditorium in early November.

“Peter and the Starcatcher,” an adventure story that explores how Peter Pan became who he is, will be performed by Actors in Action. Once a lost boy, the title character finds his identity and his home, Neverland, overcoming obstacles along the way with his two friends Prentiss and Ted. 

Premiering on Nov. 7, the show will run through the third week of November. Tickets will be $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

“People should expect to laugh, experience moments that are touching and heartfelt, be surprised by how physical the production is; overall they should expect to have a great experience,” said the theatre arts teacher, Ms. Mollie Lief.

Here are the backstories of the actors who are playing leading roles on the stage.

L. Perez

Enjoying the usual—singing, dancing and acting—Perez was in Theatre 2 last year and in the cast of the hit “Bring It On.” As an actor, their strength is that they can project their voices. “A lot of people are surprised when they hear me be so loud.”  

Perez will act in the title role as Boy/Peter. Peter Pan has no home and is an orphan. He has never had any friends and was very lonely. Throughout the story, Peter grows and develops two friends and actually has a crush on a girl. 

Preparing for the role will take up a lot of time, which includes memorizing the lines. “Being a senior and having APs and college applications, it’s a lot, but I just have to do it.”

Almost everyone can relate to Peter, suggests Perez. “A lot of people can feel lonely and they can feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to,” they said. “People should watch this play because they can relate to it and since acting can connect directly to an audience, it’ll feel more personal rather than watching a movie. “


Dakota Threats

Also a cast member in last year’s musical “Bring It On”, Threats auditioned because of her love for the story of Peter Pan. “I really wanted to be a part of telling that story,” she said.

Threats plays Prentiss, an orphan along with Peter and Ted, who sees himself as the leader of their group since he’s the oldest. Prentiss is ambitious and very logical but also can be somewhat of a coward at times. 

Since she is the oldest of her siblings, Threats relates to her character. “It is sometimes hard to seem like the big sister when my siblings act like they know everything already so I do try and prove to myself and others that I have some authority over them, but not in such a bragging way like Prentiss does.” 

“The play is also all about physical theater, and I personally love it because there aren’t many props so we use our bodies to tell the story (with some prop assistant) which I really love,” she said. 

Threats considers one of her strengths to be her ability to adapt to change through improvisation. “I feel as if I am good at coming up with things on the spot if a sudden change were to occur. It’s not my biggest strength but I try to work on it and I think it’s something I’ve gotten better at.” 

“Most people know and love the story and the movie Peter Pan so when they watch our play, they will learn how that story came to be, Threats said. It’s a very fun and enjoyable show so if anyone wants a good laugh they should come and support.”


Jude Struble

Struble has loved theater and the story of Peter Pan ever since he was a little kid. Theater is an escape from his problems and it is a good way to make friends. “The theater is just something where you can kind of build a relationship with all of your cast members and I really wanted to be a part of that,” he said. 

As the food-obsessed Ted, Struble will play one of the orphans along with Peter and Prentiss. The character, who is fun and witty, loves food so much he’s always talking about it, dreaming about it and fighting over it.

Struble’s past acting experiences include being a movie extra, as well as taking an improv class. 

Making time to prepare for the play is something he finds to be challenging, but nonetheless he is committed to his part. “I guess while preparing for the play I have gotten a lot of extracurricular activities so it’s kinda hard to find the time,” he said. “You just have to realize any time you have nothing to do, you can just read your lines, prepare, memorize and get in the mind space. I think that really helps a lot even if you are not actively doing it. Even if you are just showering, you just want to think about your character and what he wants.” 


Kevin Alvarez

During his freshman year, Alvarez was in the musical “42nd Street” and a small one-act student-directed play. To step past his limits, he auditioned for this play.

According to him, his big challenge is getting fully into his character. “You know there’s so much going on with just one character let alone paying attention to cues and other people’s performances to react to.” Being his own biggest critic, Alvarez doesn’t know what to consider as his strength.

Alvarez plays the role of Lord Leonard Aster, a dedicated minister to the queen and a devoted father. He is a proper man and never lets anyone get the best of him. He lets other people do his bidding. He rarely lets his guard down and is always sure of what he’s going to do next. 

“I have yet to find something that brings me to connect with the character. I feel the more I play the character, the more I think I will find something but at the moment, I’m still trying to figure out how I can be Lord Aster,” explains Alvarez. 


Zoe Stone

Even though she is a junior, this is Stone’s first year here. Coming from Cleveland, which had no drama program, she auditioned to join and be a part of performing arts. “Theatre is an inclusive community and I wanted to be a part of it while having fun,” she said. 

In the past, she has performed in musicals outside of school. Stone was also a part of Teenage Drama Workshop, which is a 6-week summer intensive, and an extra in several TV shows. 

Stone plays the role of Molly Aster, a 13 year old girl. “She’s like another Hermione Granger. Molly is a know-it-all who will not stop at anything to finish her mission. At one point, she acts like a spoiled child, the next a mother and then someone who takes care of the people she loves,” said Stone. 

Molly is a character that Stone can relate to because they have something in common. “I believe that Molly and I both care about the people we love and those we don’t. No matter what, we’re both determined to accomplish anything we put our minds to.”

“Every character has a story to tell, and being able to bring these stories to life is such a gift. We don’t have a lot of built-in sets, which is intriguing because the actor’s bodies itself are the sets. It’s a funny play with adventure,” said Stone.


Anddy Chuta

Previously casted in the musical “Bring It On,” Chuta auditioned for the play in hopes to relive the fun experience. 

Playing Black Stache, Chuta is the main villain. He is trying to look for a hero for his villain and he is very childish. ”I like to think that I am as funny as him,” said Chuta. 

“I’d say my biggest challenge is handling the accent that comes with the character and to be honest I haven’t overcome that yet.” 


Perla Barajas

A senior now, Barajas has been involved in theater since her freshman year. She has been involved onstage and backstage with numerous plays including “Elephant Man”, A Flea in Her Ear,”42nd Street,”“Beauty and the Beast,” and “Lord of the Flies.” 

As Black Stache’s dedicated sidekick Smee, Barajas cheers him on. “Smee has his ticks that make him a little wacky and I definitely have mine,” she said. “I know on stage it’s going to be a lot of Smee and Perla mixed together.” 

“My strength is that I can really put myself in the character’s shoes and think about their actions, objectives and the lines that they say. I question my character which is a good strength,” explains Barajas. 


Edward Malcolm

Ever since auditioning for the play “Lord of the Flies,” Malcolm fell in love with Ms. Lief’s productions. He has previously performed in the musical “Bring It On” and “Lord of the Flies.”

Playing the role of Fighting Prawn, Malcolm is an Italian King of an island who was abducted by the English as a kid. Malcolm sees himself in his character, “ My character is a bit of a spastic and I’d call myself a spastic too,” exclaimed Malcolm. 

“People should come see this play because it’s good. They’ll see a range of everything. You’ll see a beautiful ending. This play is very unique, there is really no other product like it.”


Dante Damiano

An interest in the plot of the play attracted Damiano to audition for the play. In middle school, Damiano performed in “Elf the Musical,”Aladdin,”West Side Story,” and “Secret Garden”

Hawking Clam, played by Damiano, is the father of Fighting Prawn. “I am similar to my character because he is Italian oriented and my bloodline is 50% Italian,” says Damiano. 

“People should watch this play because it is a really interesting play and there are a lot of cool props. There’s a lot of movement and it’s funny.”

Damiano’s weakness is dancing, because he has never taken dance lessons. He also says that his strength is singing because he has been singing all of his life  


Adam Ruckman 12

In hopes to improve his skills as an actor, Ruckman auditioned for the play. He has been in every show at Van Nuys. “I’ve met many amazing friends along the way, so it also lets me spend more time with people I care about the most,” said Ruckman.

Mrs. Bumbrake, the nanny of Molly Aster, is played by Ruckman. She who wants nothing more but to keep Molly safe. Throughout the story, Bumbrake feels left out and tries to catch up to the action. “That is kind of relatable to me because on multiple occasions, I’ve felt like I was not important and felt isolated from my friends. This isn’t something that’s brought up in the show, but it’s something that I noticed and could relate to.” 

“Playing the character has been one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had as an actor. Not just because it is a female role and not a male one, but because the lines the character has are phenomenal!” said Ruckman.