A reworked musical version of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach will receive its premiere at the Seattle Children’s Theatre November 21 through January 5. Directed by SCT artistic director Linda Hartzell, the stage adaptation features a book by Timothy Allen McDonald and music by Tony nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
The Seattle cast will include Mike Spee (Seattle’s Spring Awakening) as James, Kendra Kassebaum (Broadway’s Leap of Faith and Wicked) as Ladybug, Rich Gray as Centipede, Heath Saunders (Seattle’s Hairspray) as Earthworm, Greg McCormick Allen as Grasshopper, Diana Huey as Spider, Julie Briskman as Sponge and Jayne Muirhead as Spiker, with Vickielee Wohlbach, Ian Lindsay and Auston James rounding out the cast.
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.
The Seattle production will feature choreography by Marianne Roberts, set design by Carey Wong, lighting design by Michelle Habeck, costume design by Cathy Hunt, sound design by Chris R. Walker, fight choreography by Geoff Alm and puppet design by Annett Mateo. Chris Distefano will serve as musical director and Lara Paxton will work as the ariel coach.
James and the Giant Peach received its world premiere in 2010 at Goodspeed, but the show has since undergone major changes, which will be incorporated into the Seattle production.