When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion which results in a tremendous peach – and launches a journey of enormous proportions. Suddenly James finds himself in the center of the gigantic peach among human-sized insects with equally oversized personalities, but after it falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean, the group faces hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements. Thanks to James’ quick wit and creative thinking, the residents learn to live and work together as a family. The dangerous voyage is a success, but the adventure takes a whole new twist once they land on the Empire State Building.
“This is the humor and heart of Roald Dahl. We’re bringing the classic story to stage as a musical for the first time, with a powerful New York-based musical team, talented playwright and incredible designers. Filled with unexpected moments, this world premiere is a journey of fantastical discoveries – and a delightful escape for the winter holidays.” – SCT Artistic Director Linda Hartzell
Charlotte Martin Theatre
For Ages 6+
This production has past.
“something that can make a musical theater lover squeal with delight”
jay irwin (Broadway world)
Age Recommendation: For Ages 6+
Appeal for Younger Ages: Introduction to Roald Dahl literature
Appeal for Older Ages: Fanciful story with edgy undertones
Discussion Topics: Resourcefulness, Team Work, Resilience, Home
Running Time: 2 hours with intermission
Cast and Design Team
Justin Paul and Benj Pasek composed this world premiere musical. The writing duo went on to win the 2017 Tony Award - Best Musical- for Dear Evan Hansen.
James and the Giant Peach features an all-star cast including Mike Spee as the titular character in his Seattle Children’s Theatre debut. He is joined by Julie Briskman, Richard Gray, Diana Huey, Kendra Kassebaum, Greg McCormick Allen, Jayne Muirhead and Heath Saunders. J. Cameron Barnett, Auston James, Ian Lindsay and Vickielee Wohlbach will understudy.
Through Hartzell’s direction, the James cast is backed by the exceptionally talented artistic team led by Choreographer Marianne Roberts, Musical Director Chris DiStefano, Costume Designer Catherine Hunt, Scenic Designer Carey Wong, Lighting Designer Michelle
Habeck, Sound Designer Chris R. Walker, Fight Choreographer Geoffrey Alm and Puppet Designer Annett Mateo. Underscoring and Incidental Music is courtesy of David Weinstein with Orchestration by August Eriksmoen.
The story begins as James Henry Trotter loses his parents in an accident (involving a hungry rhino from the London Zoo). To further his misfortune, James has only two surviving relatives – his atrocious, pick-pocketing aunts Spiker and Sponge. Though not a fan of children, the miserly aunts welcome James’ arrival as a source of income and free labor.
When Spiker and Sponge order him to chop down a fruit tree, James uncovers a book of magic potions. James mixes up a potion, accidentally drops it by the tree and a tremendous peach grows. The aunts see this novelty as yet another money grab and start receiving celebrity status from the peach. Ordered to guard the peach, James spies a door knob and enters the fruit where he finds an interesting cast of human-sized insects (many who want to eat him). Personalities collide with the pessimistic and threatening Centipede, the more proper Ladybug, Grasshopper, Spider and Earthworm. As the group juggles for space and argues, the peach falls off the tree and rolls into the ocean.
At sea, the group is launched on an epic adventure where they must learn to work together and be resourceful. James leads the eclectic group with clever and creative problem-solving. For example, when hungry, they nibble away at the peach (while careful to keep it afloat). To escape sharks, they lasso spider rope around seagull necks to lift themselves out of the ocean and harm’s way.
Meanwhile, fearing retribution from the cash advances they received for peach publicity that never came to fruition, the aunts flee on a first-class cruise to New York. Both groups survive their journey and things come to a head when James reunites with his aunts in New York.