JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH Hits the Stage at The Bonstelle Theatre Today

Follow young James into a land of talking insects, mean old grown ups, and one giant peach in the Bonstelle Theatre's production of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. One of Roald Dahl's earliest novels comes to life in this adaptation for the stage by David Wood. Playing today, November 13-22, this classic story promises enjoyment for the whole family, as it sets out to unleash your vibrant imagination and spark magic and wonder in the hearts of all.

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH is told through storytelling, puppetry and enthralling live action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. James Henry Trotter has been forced to live with his two atrocious aunts after his loving parents are killed by an escaped rhinoceros. When he spills the ingredients of a magic potion onto a barren peach tree, it grows a single peach as large as a house. In this giant peach, James meets a human-sized grasshopper, centipede, earthworm, spider, and ladybird. These friendships will help him persevere through an exploration of the world, involving a runaway peach, sharks at sea, and taking flight across the Atlantic with the help of five hundred seagulls.

The production will feature original music from composer and Detroit native Neal Warner. Neal has previously composed music and new works for the Bonstelle Theatre's productions of Peter Pan and Urinetown: The Musical. Most recently, Warner's work was also featured in the Hilberry Theatre's season premiere production of One Man, Two Guvnors.

Directing James and the Giant Peach is guest director Katie Campbell, the associate director and company actor with the Arkansas Art Center's Children's Theater, "It is a delight and welcomed challenge to bring this well beloved story to the stage," says Campbell. "As a theatre artist, I am drawn to James' journey of personal transformation. Although the story was written over fifty years ago, I feel the themes of perseverance and friendship transcend the decades to resonate with the youth of today."

Starring as James is Detroit native actor, Joseph Paul Nix, who comes to the Bonstelle Theatre Company as a Marine Corps veteran whose stage credits include: A Christmas Carol, and RENT. Joseph comments on his connection with the role in saying, "James is a child, stripped bare of his identity, in an environment that seems to offer no sense of solitude. Like James, I embraced a courageous transformation. Going from the Marine Corps to the stage, I quickly found that theatre is every part of me and has strengthened my will to live for something larger than myself."

Cast (in alphabetical order): Joseph Paul Nix (James), Pierce King (Grasshopper), Keira Elyse Schmitt (Spider), Bradley Smith (Centipede), Michaella Mallett (Lady Bird), Matt Paciorkowski (Earthworm), Gaia Klotz (Spiker), Stephanie Stoiko (Sponge), Katherine Akers (Ensemble), Katelyn Bettendorf (Ensemble), John Brenner (Ensemble) Anna Busse (Ensemble), Josue Camarena (Ensemble), Joe Gaskill (Ensemble), Timothy Hiemstra (Ensemble), Kevin Keller (Ensemble), Kate Martinez (Ensemble), Kayla Rodriguez (Ensemble)

Production Team: Katie Campbell (Director), Catelyn Girard (Stage Manager), Tonae Mitsuhashi (Scenic Designer), Mary Copenhagen (Costume Designer), Mario Raymond (Lighting Designer), Valerie Frawley (Sound Designer), Kelsey Nowak (Property Master), Dale Dorlin (Publicist).

Each night before the performance, audience members will be encouraged to create their own paper seagull to aide James in his flight across the Atlantic. The arts & crafts project will be located in the Bonstelle room on the 2nd floor, and will start promptly at 6:00 p.m. Following each performance, there will be a meet and greet with the cast in the same area. You will have the opportunity to take pictures, ask questions and bask in the magic that is James and the Giant Peach.

The Bonstelle Theatre is a Broadway-style house with a 1,034-seat auditorium featuring a balcony and much of the original Beaux-Arts architecture. The Theatre was built as Temple Beth-El in 1902 and converted to the Bonstelle Playhouse in 1922.

The Bonstelle Theatre Company includes BA and BFA actors, designers, and stage managers in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University. Here, future stars of theatre, film, and television follow in the footsteps of successful alumni like Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning S. Epatha Merkerson (NBC's Law and Order, Lackawanna Blues), David Ramsey (CW's Arrow, NBC' Blue Bloods), Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, Grace and Frankie, ABC's Desperate Housewives), and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, NBC's Heroes). For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, group discounts, and corporate packages, please call the box office at 313-577-2960 or visit the theatre's website at www.bonstelle.com.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to over 26,000 students.

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