Peter Pan Donates to Wigs for Kids

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Richard A. Vitanovec, EMS Theatre Director; Sarah Daly, cast as Peter Pan; Debbie Setter, Stylist and Owner of Trend Setters Salon in Easton.

Richard A. Vitanovec, EMS Theatre Director; Sarah Daly, cast as Peter Pan; Debbie Setter, Stylist and Owner of Trend Setters Salon in Easton.

For the last two weekends in January, Sarah Daly, an eighth-grade student at Easton Middle School, will be taking audiences on a magical trip to Neverland as the title character in the EMS Theatre Department’s production of Peter Pan. Under the direction of Richard A. Vitanovec, theatre goers will follow along in the adventures of young Peter as he meets the Darling children, Tiger Lily and the villainous Captain Hook. But before that can happen, Daly and her cast mates will undergo a dramatic transformation to become the characters from J.M. Barrie’s timeless novel that includes learning dialect, costuming, learning stage combat, working with animal trainers, learning to fly, and most noticeably – dramatic hairstyle changes.

The essence of Peter Pan’s personality is nonchalant, adventurous and a bit cocky. Since 1904, when Barrie first had his story take life on stage, it has been tradition that a female was cast as Peter. Keeping true to this tradition, Vitanovec wanted whoever was cast as Peter to cut her hair into the short, carefree style of Peter Pan. After learning she had been cast as Peter, Daly was thrilled. She understandably experienced a roller coaster of emotions about cutting her waist length, dark brown hair into the pixie style and changing the color to auburn. One thing that Sarah was certain of was that she would be donating her hair for use in wigs for sick children.

After a bit of research Vitanovec discovered the organization Wigs for Kids. For over 30 years, Wigs for Kids has been providing Hair Replacement Systems and support for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to children or their families. Hair loss in children can happen due to a variety of medical conditions. No matter what the cause, the mission of Wigs for Kids is to create custom hair replacement systems for those children in need. Their goal is to help children look themselves and live their lives. Creating the hair pieces is a way to allow children to get back to their daily activities while looking and feeling like themselves again.

Daly and Vitanovec agreed that they wanted to support an organization that provides the wigs at no cost. And in the spirit of the philanthropy of J.M. Barrie, who granted copyright of the Peter Pan works to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children in London, wanted to continue his legacy of helping sick children. Wigs for Kids is the first and oldest organization of its kind and have years of experience creating custom Hair Replacement Systems that are made from real hair and look just like a child’s hair would naturally. Unlike other hair donation programs in this field, Wigs for Kids never charges the family for hair pieces and rely completely on donations from generous companies, foundations, groups and individuals like Sarah who happily cut their hair to help other kids.

Once Sarah was able to fully grasp the enormity of the role, any hesitation dissipated and she began to look forward to the physical transformation. Over her Christmas vacation, Daly spent an entire morning with Debbie Setter, owner of Trend Setters Salon in Easton, who carefully pony-tailed her hair into four separate sections and cut more than 12 inches off the length. Setter then carefully wrapped and packaged all the hair to send to Wigs for Kids. Sarah’s Peter Pan look would be completed with a spunky razored pixie cut and color. “I think the new haircut is going to allow me to channel Peter on a new level. I now have another little piece of him and I truly believe that my new hairstyle will continue to help me mold into who Peter really is. I am extremely excited both about the role of Peter Pan and to be helping another kid who has lost their hair”, said Daly moments after her haircut was complete. Vitanovec says, “I have been working with Sarah since she was six years old. I could not be prouder of her. She has grown into such a beautiful, talented and caring young woman. Her leadership on stage and off are truly remarkable. I could not have asked for a better young woman to play Peter Pan”.

Peter Pan will be presented at Easton High School on January 22. 23, 29 & 30 at 7:00 PM and January 24 at 2:00 PM.

For more information about Wigs for Kids or to donate hair go to www.wigsforkids.org

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