Home Features An Interview with ‘Finding Neverland’ Star Lael Van Keuren

An Interview with ‘Finding Neverland’ Star Lael Van Keuren

Lael Van Keuren in Finding Neverland (Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award Winner for Best Musical, Finding Neverland (@FNLmusical) is coming to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (@ArshtCenter) for a limited time on December 26 – 31, with tickets are on sale now!

Families are encouraged to attend and enjoy fun free activities at Kid’s Night On Broadway on opening night, Tuesday, December 26 from 6 pm. to 7:30 p.m. in the Arsht Center’s Ziff Ballet Opera House lobby. The Finding Neverland “Imagination Station” will feature face painting, balloon artists, and interactive fun decorating fairy wings and pirate hats.

*** Special offer ***Buy One Adult Ticket, Bring One Child Free!* Use promo code KIDSNIGHT by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 22.


Based on the Academy Award-winning Miramax motion picture by David Magee, and the play The Man who was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, Finding Neverland follows the relationship between playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up – one of the most beloved stories of all time. Directed by Tony-winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair) with book by Olivier Award-nominee James Graham, music and lyrics by Gary Barlow (Take That) and Grammy Award-winner Eliot Kennedy, and choreography by Emmy Award-winner Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance,” Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium), this new musical, packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, is a timeless story about the power of imagination… and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up.

Complete casting includes Billy Harrigan Tighe (Pippin, The Book of Mormon) and Lael Van Keuren (Finding Neverland, Sister Act), with John Davidson (Wicked, Oklahoma), Karen Murphy (A Little Night Music, My Vaudeville Man),Turner Birthisel, Connor Jameson Casey, Wyatt Cirbus, Bergman Freedman, Tyler Patrick Hennessy, Colin Wheeler, Caitlyn Caughell, Sarah Marie Charles, Calvin L. Cooper, Ixchel Cuellar, Dwelvan David, Matthew Davies, Nathan Duszny, Mary Kate Hartung, Victoria Huston-Elem, Thomas Miller, Noah Plomgren, Matthew Quinn, Will Ray, Kristine Reese, Dee Tomasetta, Karl Skyler Urban,  Jayme Wapple and Matt Wolpe.


We caught up with Lael Van Keuren, who plays Sylvia, to dish on Finding Neverland.

At what age did you begin singing/acting?

I come from a very musical family! My dad plays the piano and the drums, and both my mom and my sister used to dance, so music and the arts have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I started dancing when I was about 3 years old, and I grew up singing in church and in various school plays. I started to seriously study acting upon moving to NYC when I was in the 8th grade.

What was your first professional/paid gig?

My first professional Equity job was a production of Carousel at the Reagle Music Theatre just outside of Boston. Shirley Jones (who plays Julie Jordan in the 1956 movie) was our Nettie, and listening to her sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” each night was a dream! I was 17, and I was deliriously happy to be dancing the original DeMille choreography, especially the dream ballet in Act 2.

Other than this show, what role has been your favorite to play and why?

I made my Broadway debut in Sister Act, and I went on to play the role of Sister Mary Robert in the 1st National Tour. That entire experience was wonderfully fulfilling. I loved playing Mary Robert because she goes on this incredible transformation throughout the course of the show. She starts out as a girl who is terrified to speak up (let alone sing out), and she ends up this brave, outspoken young woman who would willingly sacrifice her life for her friends and sisters. That kind of an arc was so satisfying artistically.

What’s your fantasy role?

This is always a tough question! I’d love to take a stab at Dot in Sunday In The Park With George, and Polly in Crazy For You would be super fun. In my wildest fantasy, I would love the opportunity to create a role – something with singing, dancing, and an incredible story. To be perfectly honest, having the chance to play Sylvia in Finding Neverland has been like a fantasy thus far! I love this character.

What should the South Florida audiences expect out of this touring company of Finding Neverland?

Audiences should expect some of the finest performances and most breathtaking visual effects I have ever seen. Our leading man Billy Harrigan Tighe is a force, and our entire company consists of the best singers and dancers in the field. Finding Neverland is such a magical show, because you are able to follow the real life journey of J.M. Barrie as he is inspired to write one of the most beloved stories of all time – Peter Pan. This is not a children’s show, but it is a musical that will engage audiences of all ages and will make you want to hold your loved ones a little tighter.

The production features scenic design by Tony Award-winner Scott Pask (PippinBook of Mormon), lighting design by Tony Award-winner Kenneth Posner (The Coast of UtopiaPippin), costume design by Suttirat Larlarb (Of Mice and Men), sound design by Tony Award-nominee Jonathan Deans (PippinLa Cage aux Folles), hair and make-up design by Richard Mawbey, projection design by Jon Driscoll, music supervision by Fred Lassen, musical direction by Ryan Cantwell and casting by Stewart/Whitley.

Tickets to Finding Neverland are available through the Arsht Center Box Office in person at 1300 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33132, by calling 305.949.6722, or online at Arshtcenter.org. Ticket prices start at $29*.

For more information: FindingNeverlandTheMusical.com.

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