Photo by Scott Treadway, Treadshots
Flat Rock Playhouse and Studio 52 will present a new musical version of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, Jr. from March 11 through 20 at the Playhouse Downtown. Written in 1961, James and the Giant Peach was the first novel Dahl penned for children before going on to author Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and many others including the film adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The story centers around young James Henry Trotter who, while living with his horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge, discovers a magic potion which results in a tremendous peach, as well new found best friends Grasshopper, Ladybug, Spider, Earthworm and Centipede. Together, they traverse the Atlantic Ocean in their giant peach – facing hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements. But thanks to James’ wit and perseverance, the band of travelers learn to work together until they finally reach their destination of New York City.
Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr. features words and music by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek with a book by Timothy Allen McDonald.
Flat Rock Playhouse Studio 52’s Artistic Associate David Hart will direct Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr. Hart helmed last year’s hugely successful productions of Wizard of Oz and Driving Miss Daisy.
Says Hart, “I was first introduced to Roald Dahl as a struggling young reader in elementary school. My teacher at the time was hoping to engage me with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and she was right, it was the reading hook I needed. From the first pages I was drawn into the story, Dahl’s choice of words, his imagination, his strange environments – equal parts funny, warm, dark, dangerous, mysterious and fully adventurous.”
Hart continues, “Now as I work to bring James and the Giant Peach Jr. and this exciting new theatrical musical to our Studio 52 and Flat Rock Playhouse audiences, I will combine another theatrical element that holds the same jaw dropping adventure to me as I felt in reading the original stories: the circus.”
The Flat Rock Playhouse production will tell the story of James and the Giant Peach through the lens of a circus with puppetry, song, dance and multimedia projections.
“I truly hope that this thrilling production will be an experience to celebrate and remember,” says Hart.
The cast for Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr. features 26 local youth actors including Von Alberto, Evie Corn, Marissa Connelly, Noelle Crist, Frank Davis, James Dillon, Chase Fincher, Alice Frisch, Jayna Gerber, Samantha Grady, Cameron Grady, Katherine Grady, James Hargis, Kyra Hewitt, Riley Hewitt, Ezekiel Mercado, Caroline Owen, Jackson Pelz, Lianas Pronyk, Hadin Robertson, Lainie Robertson, Chris Saucedo, Andrew Starr, Ellie Stout, Joseph Sherer and Isabel Ward.
Tech “Super Stars” include Bryson Bayne, Sadie Bowen, Savannah Crist and Mae Freeman.
Flat Rock Playhouse Resident Music Director Alex Shields provides musical direction with Daniel Higgins as choreographer. Amelia Driscoll is the stage manager.
The set for Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr. is designed by Associate Scenic Designer Chris Mueller, with lights and sound by CJ Barnwell, Head of Electrics, and Kurt Conway, Head of Audio, respectively. The multimedia projections for Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr. will be created by Chris Mueller and Jon Graham. Costumes will be designed by Resident Costume Designer Ashli Arnold. Paul Feraldi is designing the props.
Special student matinee performances of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr are sponsored by the Walnut Cove Members Association and Pardee Hospital through their Rock and Roll initiative, providing transportation to local elementary schools.
Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr. will run from March 10 – 20 at the Playhouse Downtown. Performances will be Friday & Saturday at 7:00pm; matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $10 for students and $18 for adults and can be purchased by calling the Playhouse box office at 828-693-0731, toll-free at 866-732-8008 or online at www.flatrockplayhouse.org.
The Flat Rock Playhouse downtown is located at 125 South Main Street in Hendersonville, NC.