Laguna Beach native Noah Plomgren is in the ensemble of the national tour of Finding Neverland, which opens at Segerstrom today. He also plays Lord Canaan and is the understudy for Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie. The Carnegie Mellon graduate counts stints as Claude on Hair and Benny Southstreet on Guys and Dolls as memorable roles in national touring shows, but it was really living in Laguna Beach that whetted his appetite for theater.
“It was a wonderful place for theater,” he said. “There was such a great appreciation for the arts in the community.” There was the No Square Theater and Gallimaufry Performing Arts, which led to a vibrant community theater scene. Even Plomgren’s high school drama program, he said, “provided an endless playground for me and allowed me to do every kind of show you could imagine.”
He started onstage early: “My mother signed me up for a musical at the Children's Repertory Theatre in Orange County when I was 5 years old. It was called Where Are The Walls? and I played a robot named Calcium. I didn't really get the concept of the show at the time but I remember becoming completely enchanted with it and have really only ever wanted to be an actor since then,” he said.
Finding Neverland, which tells the story of how Peter Pan was conceived by J.M. Barrie and the struggle he faced to write it, wasn’t a story that Plomgren knew intimately. “Somehow I missed it when it was on Broadway,” the New York City resident says. Now that he’s on the national tour, Plomgren gets to be a part of it night after night. He doesn’t do much by way of prepping for a show: “Just a simple physical and vocal warmup so I'm ready to go.” Other pre-show rituals include reading a book in the dressing room or catching up with castmates about their adventures in each city.
Peter Pan’s lasting influence on Western culture is undeniable; aside from the Disney film, the Broadway musical, countless songs and stories, he inspired an official name for men who refused to grow up: The Peter Pan Syndrome. Plomgren has other lessons he’s learned from being on the cast of Finding Neverland: “Take care of yourself, eat well, be compassionate, and don't be a jerk.”
Three questions with Noah Plomgren
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What are your top three musicals?
My all-time favorite musical is Sunday in the Park With George. What is has to say about love and life and being an artist always moves me deeper and deeper each time I see it or listen to it and I think it's a masterpiece. Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods probably come in second. There is no end to the discoveries each time you listen to these shows and the lyrics and melodies and everything about them move me. Every time. Always.
If you were a hashtag, what would you be?
Well my cast mates always call me "Full Out Noah" haha so I think that's a good hashtag: #fulloutNoah
What is your 2017 resolution?
Say "yes" and have fun.
Finding Neverland is showing at Segerstrom Center for the