A peach that magically grows to become the size of a house. A brave boy and his insect friends. An incredible journey across the sea.
These are all elements in the upcoming New Minowa Players family show: "James and the Giant Peach."
Performances are at the New Minowa Players Theatre at 916 South Mill Street in Decorah, on the following dates:
Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 1, at 2 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m.
This show is designed for audiences of all ages. It especially appeals to families with children and to anyone who is young at heart.
"Our January shows are meant to appeal to audience members of all ages," said Sheryl Scheffert, director of the show. "Most often my choices are based on children's literature. When I chose 'James and the Giant Peach,' I was looking for something that felt colorful and upbeat and full of wonder. This adaptation of the story uses a small cast, with many of the actors covering more than one role. I enjoy helping the actors create distinct characters and watching them come up with their own ideas; and the small cast allows for a giant peach."
"James and the Giant Peach" is the classic story of a young boy who goes on a magical adventure.
After his parents die, James goes to live with his two cranky aunts. A stranger appears with a bag full of mysterious crocodile tongues and tells James to use them carefully. When James accidentally spills them, a peach on the peach tree starts growing and growing and growing. Eventually it is as big as a house. James climbs aboard the giant peach and meets his new best friends: Centipede, Miss Spider, Earthworm, Old-Green-Grasshopper and Ladybird. Together they set out on a great adventure that eventually leads them to a happy life in a new land.
"James and the Giant Peach" was written by master storyteller Roald Dahl and published in 1961. The book was Roald Dahl's first book for children, and it continues to be one of his most popular books.
When it came time to choose a January show, there was no doubt in Scheffert's mind that James and the Giant Peach would be perfect.
"One of the things I love about Roald Dahl's stories is his choice to have one character which is completely and innocently human interacting with a fantastic array of other characters. To me, 'James and the Giant Peach' is compellingly believable because we see it through James's eyes," she said.
"Other Roald Dahl books our audiences may be familiar with include 'The BFG,' which was our January show two years ago, and 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,'" she added.
Scheffert will be assisted by Jeanine Scheffert as artistic and assistant stage director, Robyn Ovans as technical consultant and Mette Hammer as production manager.
Cast in the role as James is Anna Townswick. The two cruel aunts will be portrayed by Kris Larson as Aunt Sponge and Alisa Winsauer as Aunt Spiker. Rick Scheffert will play the role of Old-Green-Grasshopper. Alisa Winsauer will be Ladybird. Aaron Kvale will be squirming as Earthworm and Katharine Bergman will be spinning her thread as Miss Spider. Kathryn Riehle will wiggle her many feet as Centipede. Maggie Schwartz will assist backstage and also will appear on stage.
"James and the Giant Peach" is presented through special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd and sponsored by Decorah Bank and Trust, Decorah Tire Service, Family Table, Gallery of Tops, Pizza Ranch, Quillins, Rockweiler Appliance and TV and Singing Hammers Construction.