My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

Anthony MacPherson takes flight

by Paul Bellini

Anthony MacPherson is a lot like Ruby Keeler. In 42nd Street, Warner Baxter picks her out of a chorus line and gives her the lead in the musical. Just before sending her out on stage, he grabs her elbow and says something like ‘You’re going out a nobody, but you’re coming back a star’. Similarly, Anthony was pulled out of the ensemble auditions by Ross Petty to play the lead in his upcoming panto, Peter Pan. Move over, Ruby.

Unsurprisingly excited at the prospect, the 26-year-old actor and I chatted over the phone about doing the role. In previous versions of the musical theatre version, Peter Pan was played by women like Mary Martin or Sandy Duncan, presumably because they weigh less than men, as the role requires flying around above the stage. “I’ve been measured for a harness, so there will be some flying in this show,” he assures me. Yay, flying!

The Sheridan grad has been performing for over ten years now. He grew up in Halifax, with parents who encouraged the artistic pursuits of their children. He spent four years in Charlottetown before making his way to Toronto. In 2007 he saw Kurt Browning play the role of Peter Pan, but at the time he never thought that it would be his first major role.

“I am a member of the LGBT community,” he tells me, but he refuses to divulge his current relationship status. Though certainly not a twink, Anthony is young enough and cute enough to play the role of the boy who never grew up. I ask him if a nine-week run is daunting, but already a veteran, he laughs at the idea. “I did a tour of The Wizard of Oz that played 500 performances over an 18-month period,” he tells me proudly. Theatre is definitely in Anthony MacPherson’s blood.

Ross Petty Productions’ PETER PAN in WONDERLAND, The 20th Anniversary Family Musical PANto-monium will be presented from November 27, 2015 to January 3, 2016.