Whit MacLaughlin directs the project as part of Arden Children's Theatre. Opening night is Dec. 13. Unique animation will help create the dark and juicy world of the story. The titular peach will be more than 15-feet high.
Director MacLaughlin stated, "I am always striving to invent new and exciting worlds for families at the Arden. I created a world of puppets, humans and gigantic scale shifts in The Big Friendly Giant (The BFG), a world of time and adventure in Sleeping Beauty, and a safe haven for friendship in A Year with Frog and Toad. Now, in James and the Giant Peach, we are building a whole imaginative universe out of live actors interacting with animations. It's kinda like Pixar, but live."
Jorge Cousineau, Philadelphia's acclaimed sound and lighting designer, collaborates to create the visual world of the show.
The creative team also includes scenic designer Matt Saunders, costume designer Christal Weatherly and lighting designer Brian J. Lilienthal. James and the Giant Peach features a playful original score by award-winning actor, musician and composer James Sugg.
According to the Arden, "From the author of the Arden's smash hit The BFG, another of Roald Dahl's beloved books comes to vivid life. Young orphan James is sent to live with his horrible Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. Long days of grueling chores and demeaning remarks from his Aunts make James' life miserable, until one day when a mysterious stranger arrives and suddenly James' life is turned upside-down! When the stranger accidentally spills some unusual crystals on his aunts' withered peach tree, magic abounds and James finds an enormous peach growing in his yard! James crawls inside to the very center of the peach where he finds an unusual group of talking insects. The peach starts rolling downhill and James' extraordinary adventure begins." The cast includes James Ijames as James, Stephanie English as Aunt Sponge, Harum Ulmer, Jr. as Aunt Spiker, Frederick Andersen as Earthworm, Oberon Adjepong as Grasshopper, Ceal Phelan as Spider, Amanda Schoonover as Ladybird and Brian Osborne as Centipede.
Every performance includes a post-show question-and-answer session with the cast, and all kids receive a free commemorative show poster and are invited to meet the cast in the lobby after each performance.
Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia. For tickets, call (215) 922-1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org.