Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sneak peek: Roald Dahl's JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH

Already one of the most anticipated plays in First Stage’s 29th season, Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach will be brought to enormous life on the Todd Wehr stage October 16 – November 15, 2015. This musical adaptation, with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who were Tony nominees for their work on A CHRISTMAS STORY) and book by Timothy Allen McDonald, is based on the beloved children’s novel by Roald Dahl.

When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down an old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion which results in a tremendous peach, launching an adventure of epic proportions.  Suddenly James finds himself in the center of a gigantic peach among human-sized insects with equally over-sized personalities.

Costume Design by Melissa Torchia
Veteran Milwaukee actor and director Matt Daniels returns to First Stage to direct this larger-than-life musical. “I was inspired by the light at the center of the darkness of Roald Dahl’s work, so we will explore the story through that very juxtaposition, employing different methods of shadow-play, in addition to live action scenes and musical numbers,” said Daniels. “The show, like the book, has a little something for everyone – from James’ deliciously sour aunts, Spiker and Sponge, to the sweetness of his discovery of a new family in the unlikeliest of places.” 

An impressive creative team has been assembled to bring Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach to life on stage. Paul Helm (Big Fish, Seussical) returns to First Stage as the Music Director, and choreographer Edwin Olvera brings movement and dance to the stage. The combined elements of scenic design by Kristin Ellert, costumes by Melissa Torchia, puppets created by Brandon Kirkham, and lighting and shadow-play by Jason Fassl - promise a visually stunning experience.  Michelle Lopez-Rios (Luchadora) steps into the role as Dialect Coach, completing the team.
 
Scenic Design by Kristin Ellert
The adult actor cast of James and the Giant Peach includes many familiar faces to First Stage audiences. Amber Nicole Dilger (Seussical) will portray Spiker along with Beth Mulkerron (Big: The Musical) as Ladybug, Lamar Jefferson (Shrek) as Earthworm, and Rick Pendzich (Anatole, Seussical) as Centipede.

Two rotating casts of young performers will include alternating performances with Luke Brotherhood in the Plump Cast (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) and Nolan Van Haren (Big Fish) in the Juicy Cast as James. The Plump Cast also includes Madeline McNichols, Amira Elsafy, Malia Westlake and Celeste Mae Hermans. Young performers in the Round Cast are Lydia StevensonCamara Stampley, Esther O’Brien and Sarah Kinn.

Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach is recommended for everyone ages 6 and up. Tickets start at $15 and are available online or by phone at (414) 267-2961.

Please note: James’ journey includes moments of peril and loss.

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