Peter Pan helps Special Kids Fly in Branson

Recently, five-year-old Parker Strobeck wasn’t too sure he wanted to fly. Parker’s indecision was on the set of “Peter Pan” currently playing at Branson’s “The Mansion Theatre through Dec. 12. But when the star of the show, Cathy Rigby, came out dressed as Peter Pan, Strobeck changed his mind. Parker, along with two other children who have muscular dystrophy got the flight of their lives as they soared in the rigging Rigby uses in “Peter Pan.

As aerial designer Paul Rubin gently pulled the ropes, hoisting Parker six inches above the stage, Parker , of Omaha, AR said, “Don’t put me up too high.” . Within a minute, Parker was swinging across the stage, grinning at his mother, Kerri Strobeck. She said Parker had recently enjoyed his “Make A Wish” visit to Disney World.

Rubin also gave flights to Thomas Canter(CQ), 7, of Ozark, and Xavier Kleiber, 13, from Stotts City. To the children’s delight, Rigby gave them packets of “fairy dust” to sprinkle. “Think good thoughts,” she said. Also watching the event was Mansion owner Gene Bicknell. MDA has personally touched him, he said. He lost his niece Dellena Scofield to the disorder.

A news crew from KOLR-10 in Springfield, Mo., taped the flights for use during the annual Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.

Rigby became America’s favorite when she was on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team in 1970. She started touring in “Peter Pan” in 1974, and said she has done the rigorous show 2,700 times. Rigby said. “It’s maintaining the energy of a 10-year-old boy, who jumps on furniture and runs around the room while he’s singing and then performs aerial ballet, and that’s in the first scene.”

“Peter Pan” staring Cathy Rigby, is playing at The Mansion Theatre Tuesdays through Sundays at 8 p.m. with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 3 p.m through Dec. 12. For information or to purchase tickets call Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550 or visit