Imagination Stage to Present Roald Dahl Shows in Repertory, 4/3-5/26
James and the Giant Peach, the beloved and well-read Roald Dahl story returns to Imagination Stage and teams up with the world premiere of The Magic Finger, one of Dahl's lesser known stories. Both shows, performed on the same stage and using the same set and cast, will create an exciting, hilarious, and Dahl-icious spring repertory at Imagination Stage.
James and the Giant Peach and The Magic Finger run in repertory in Imagination Stage's Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre April 3 through May 26, 2013. Best for ages 4-10, tickets are $12 to $25, and may be purchased online at www.imaginationstage.org, at the Imagination Stage box office, or via phone at 301-280-1660. Group rates are available.
Both shows will be set in 1960s Great Britain. James and the Giant Peach, about an orphan who journeys across the Atlantic on a giant flying peach with a wacky crew of oversized bugs, will be directed by Janet Stanford. Stanford's twist on the story will give James Remarkable similarities to another famous James: Bond. James Bond.
Stanford is placing the story on the set of a film in the 1960s in Great Britain, and the main character becomes the world renowned British film hero, James Bond. "There are lots of special effects in the movie, done in the simple methods of the period," says Janet. "This inspires me to believe that we can accomplish many of the difficult feats that must happen using techniques such as stop animation and small model stages." Stanford also intends to use other '60s pop references, with some characters reminiscent of icons such as Mick Jagger, Twiggy, and Sean Connery.
Dahl and James Bond do have a close connection. In fact, Ian Fleming, author of the Bond books, convinced the producers of You Only Live Twice to let Dahl write the screenplay, which became the first really modern Bond movie.
The world premiere of Dahl's The Magic Finger, directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer, is about young Lucy, a girl with a magical index finger that doles out justice. While visiting her friend William Gregg, Lucy finds out that the Gregg family enjoys hunting ducks. Her magic finger turns the tables, making the Gregg family ducks, and the duck family the Greggs.
"The Magic Finger is a comedy with many farcical elements and magic but with a dark tone," says Bryer. "Dahl is very extreme - good is very good and evil is very evil, and both are greatly exaggerated." While a lesser-known Dahl work, The Magic Finger in many ways foreshadows Dahl's masterpiece, Matilda, which has recently received an award-winning adaptation that is coming to Broadway March 4, 2013.
Many members of the cast will perform in both productions, with the exception of young actors Sean Silva and Ian Berlin, who share the title role of James.
Megan Graves will play the Tour Guide/Mayor of NYC (James) and Lucy (Magic Finger). Megan was last seen at Imagination Stage in Dr. Dolittle and has also performed with No Rules Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, and The American Century Theater. Matthew Schleigh will play the Grasshopper (James) and William (Magic Finger). Matthew has performed numerous Imagination Stage productions and was most recently seen as the Mayor of Whoville and a Wickersham in Seussical.
Other members of the cast are Leigh Jameson (Mrs. Gregg and the Ladybug), Phillip Reid (Earthworm, James/Master Duck, Magic Finger), Joe Brack (Aunt Spiker and Captain of the Queen Mary, James/Mr. Duck, Magic Finger), Eric Messner (Centipede and Litterbug, James/Mr. Gregg and Dog Owner, Magic Finger), and Lauren Du Pree (Miss Spider and Old Man, James/Mrs. Duck, Magic Finger).
The creative team for the Dahl repertory includes Composer Tim Guillot, Music Director Debbie Jacobson, Set Designer Milagros Ponce de Leon, Costume Designer Kendra Rai, and Lighting Designer Andrew Griffin.
Imagination Stage Receives 10 Helen Hayes Award Nominations
Eighty-four professional theatres and a total of 201 eligible shows were considered for nominations and Imagination Stage earned 10-the most in the theatre's history. This number ties Imagination Stage with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company for the fifth most nominations of any theatre this year. Honoured productions are Rapunzel; Seussical; and The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, which was a first-time collaboration with The Washington Ballet. The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe received the lion's share of the theatre's nominations with five.