Photo Flash: First Look at THE BFG at Imagination Stage
Imagination Stage is the new home of Giant Country in The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), a play based on the book by Roald Dahl and adapted by David Wood. Co-directed by Imagination Stage's Associate Artistic Director Kathryn Chase Bryer and Eric J. Van Wyk of Viterbo University, The BFG integrates puppetry, rich visuals, and imaginative storytelling as Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant go on a magical journey to save the children of England. Scroll down for a first look at the cast onstage!
The BFG is the world's only friendly giant. He operates in the strictest of secrecy to bring good dreams to the human world, while his nasty counterparts steal and have the despicable habit of eating children. Upon meeting little orphan Sophie through her window, he whisks her away to his home in Giant Country. Together they embark on an adventure to Buckingham Palace to get help from the Queen and save the children from the other giants!
"After the success of last year's Dahl rep (The Magic Finger and James and the Giant Peach), we are tremendously excited to bring another Roald Dahl classic to the stage," says Associate Artistic Director Kathryn Chase Bryer. "The collaboration with Viterbo University has been a 'larger than life' adventure and we are thrilled to have another opportunity to work alongside Eric and his team!" Prior to making its Imagination Stage debut, The BFG played at Viterbo University's Web Center for the Performing Arts this past February to sold out houses.
Megan Graves will play the leading role of Sophie, who forms an unlikely friendship with the BFG. Megan is a frequent friend of Imagination Stage, having last performed in the Early Childhood production of Inside Out and the Helen Hayes Award-nominated production of The Magic Finger. Her other Imagination Stage credits include James and the Giant Peach and Dr. Dolittle. She has also been seen with many other local companies including 1st Stage, Adventure Theatre MTC, Forum Theatre, and The Washington Rogues.
Another familiar Imagination Stage face, James Konicek, will provide the voice of the BFG. James was last seen as Captain Hook in last summer's production of Peter Pan and Wendy, for which he received a Helen Hayes Award nomination. He was part of the Helen Hayes Award-winning ensemble of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Susan Lynskey will play the Queen of England and was previously seen at Imagination Stage in the regional premiere of Lost and Foundling. She is a multi-faceted artist who has played a part in national and local new play initiatives at The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, and Washington Women in Theatre. Emily Kester joins Imagination Stage for the first time in the role of Mary. Other regional credits include Studio Theatre, The IN Series, Source Festival, Triad Stage, and NC Shakespeare Festival.
The remaining ensemble members include Imagination Stage alum Alex Vernon (Rumpelstiltskin), Matt McGee (James and the Giant Peachand The Magic Finger), and Matthew Schleigh (Lyle the Crocodile, James and the Giant Peach, The Magic Finger, and Seussical). New to Imagination Stage are Maboud Ebrahimzadeh and Jon Hudson Odom. Ebrahimzadeh was last seen as the co-host of the 30th Annual Helen Hayes Awards, and has worked with many DC theatres. Odom is another DC favorite, having recently performed in The Piano Lesson at Olney Theatre Center. Angi Smolik and Austin Sargent make their Washington debuts, joining the cast from Viterbo University where they currently study.
Kathryn Chase Bryer will co-direct this production after most recently directing Lyle the Crocodile at Imagination Stage and Scapin at Constellation Theatre Company. She has directed more than 30 shows in the last 22 years at Imagination Stage. Eric J. Van Wyk will join Bryer not only as co-director but also as set, props, and projections designer. Eric was the set and puppet designer for Imagination Stage's The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, and puppet designer for The Neverending Story. He is a recipient of a 2009 Jim Henson Foundation Seed Grant for his shadow puppet work O the Sky!
The rest of the creative team for The BFG includes Lighting Designer Jason Arnold, Sound Designer Christopher Baine, Costume DesignerJeffrey Stolz, and Movement Consultant Ben Cunis.
Best for ages 5-10, The BFG runs in Imagination Stage's Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre June 25-August 10, 2014. Tickets start at $10, 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.
Photo Credit: Margot Schulman
The BFG (L-James Konicek) peeks around the corner to find the mean giants of Giant Country scheming
The Queen of England (Susan Lynskey) honors the BFG (James Konicek) for his courage
The mean giants of Giant Country plot their next move during The Witching Hour
Sophie (L-Megan Graves) assures the Queen of England (R-Susan Lynskey) that she and the BFG are real