Join the Adventure of Lyric's JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH

Bring the gang for an all-new family adventure with Lyric Theatre's musical production of James and the Giant Peach, March 30 through April 9 at Lyric at the Plaza, 1725 NW 16 St. This adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl story follows a young boy who embarks on a grand adventure with his larger-than-life insect friends.

Lyric's production features daytime, family-audience performances, which includes two premier sensory-friendly performances. A co-production with Washington, D.C.'s Adventure Theatre-MTC, directed by Lyric's Producing Artistic Director Michael Baron, this delightful, new staging showcases music written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul -- the Academy Award-winning team of the film La La Land.

With the assistance of grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Oklahoma Natural Gas, Lyric will provide free and reduced-priced tickets to underserved Oklahoma students. This funding also allows for the creation of Lyric's sensory-friendly performances specially designed for children with autism, Asperger's Syndrome or other sensory-processing disorders and special needs.

"There's nothing like seeing a child experience live theatre for the first time," Baron said. "I've been wanting to offer daytime programming at the Plaza Theatre for quite some time, and I hope the children who attend either with their school groups or families take away memories and a love of live theatre that will last a lifetime."

Starring in this production are Lyric favorites Stephen Hilton as Ladahlord, Renee Anderson as Spiker, Lexi Windsor as Spider and Jennifer Teel as Ladybug. The cast also features Cristela Carrizales as Sponge, Jordan Jacobs as Grasshopper, Stephen Stark as Centipede, Justin Larman as Earthworm and young performers Hudson Ratcliff and Connor Willis alternating the role of James.

The production received critical acclaim during its Washington, D.C., run last year. It has been nominated for four 2016 Helen Hayes Awards, including Outstanding Direction by Baron, Outstanding Production for Theatre for Young Audiences, Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical and Outstanding Costume Design by Jeffrey Meek, Lyric's resident costume designer. The awards will be presented during a ceremony in the nation's capital on May 15.

The two sensory-friendly performances of James and the Giant Peach are slated for 11 a.m. Friday, April 7, and 12 p.m. Saturday, April 8. Lyric consulted with representatives from Autism Oklahoma to ensure the performances were welcoming to those with special needs. A step-by-step guide will be available to parents explaining all aspects of the performance space and the production they will be seeing. Special lighting and sound cues will be incorporated into these performances, as well.

"Our kids see the world through their own unique lens, so to have a group make theatre available to all patrons is really overwhelming," said Stacey Weddington with Autism Oklahoma. "We were absolutely delighted to get the call and partner with Lyric. I hope it's just the beginning of our relationship together."

The production runs March 30-April 9, 2017, at Lyric at the Plaza, 1725 NW 16 St. Performances are at 11 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are now available, starting at $20, and can be purchased by phone: (405) 524-9312 and online at:

Additionally, OETA (Oklahoma Educational Television Authority) has created a special 30-minute documentary, Autism: Making Sensory-Friendly Theatre, about the production that will air at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 30, and at 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 31.

Photo credit: The cast of James and the Giant Peach from Lyric Theatre's co-production with Adventure Theatre-MTC. Photo by Mike Horan

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