Billy Porter, Cynthia Erivo, More Join Celebrity Reading of James and the Giant Peach | Playbill

Benefits and Galas Billy Porter, Cynthia Erivo, More Join Celebrity Reading of James and the Giant Peach Taika Waititi will direct the virtual presentation of the Roald Dahl novel.
Billy Porter and Cynthia Erivo
Billy Porter and Cynthia Erivo

Tony winners Cynthia Erivo, Billy Porter, and Eddie Redmayne will read from Roald Dahl’s novel James and the Giant Peach in a new video series directed by Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit). Among the myriad celebrities joining are fellow Broadway alums Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Lupita Nyong’o, Ruth Wilson, Josh Gad, Sarah Paulson, and Beanie Feldstein.

Variety reports an unabridged reading of the childhood favorite will be released in 10 parts on YouTube, beginning May 18 at 1 PM ET and continuing every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Episode 1 features Hemsworth brothers Liam and Chris and Oh Hello’s Nick Kroll, with Streep and Benedict Cumberbatch in Episode 2 May 20.

Additional stage and screen stars scheduled to appear in the readings include Utkarsh Ambudkar, Jamie Cullum, Roman Griffin Davis, Cara Delevingne, Mindy Kaling, Kumail Nanjiani, Gordon Ramsay, Ryan Reynolds, Ben Schwartz, Tessa Thompson, Olivia Wilde, and Archie Yates.

The reading will benefit Partners In Health (founded by Dahl’s daughter Ophelia), which is dedicated to fighting COVID-19 and supporting public health systems in need. In addition, The Roald Dahl Story Co. will match donations up to a total of $1 million.

This isn't the first time theatre and Dahl’s novel have intersected. A musical adaptation of James and the Giant Peach, with a score by Tony- and Oscar-winning duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, was licensed by Music Theatre International in 2015. An album was released the same year featuring the voices of Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, and more.

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