THE BFG (Big Friendly Giant) Comes to the Arden Children's Theatre

The BFG starts previews on November 29, opens on Saturday, December 9, at 6 p.m., and runs through January 21, 2024. 

By: Nov. 22, 2023
THE BFG (Big Friendly Giant) Comes to the Arden Children's Theatre

 Arden Children's Theatre launches its 23/24 season with a family-friendly presentation of Roald Dahl's children's classic, The BFG, starting November 29. Dahl is the award-winning author behind classics including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda. The BFG, written by Dahl in 1982 and adapted for the stage in 1991 by David Wood and directed by Whit MacLaughlin, comes to life in the 360-person capacity F. Otto Haas Stage. The spectacular and visually stunning production promises to delight children (and adults) of all ages this holiday season. The BFG starts previews on November 29, opens on Saturday, December 9, at 6 p.m., and runs through January 21, 2024. 

The stage adaption of The BFG brings a 24-foot tall Big Friendly Giant (Matteo Scammell) to life as he helps Sophie (Jessica Money) save the children of England from giants, including Bloodbottler, Bonecruncher, and Gizzardgulper. It's also a story of an unlikely friendship between Sophie and the BFG, both alone in the world, who form a surprising connection and friendship during the enduring story. The unlikely pair are helped by the Queen of England and the Heads of the Army and Airforce with their helicopters. Family audiences will be whisked off to whimsical locations, including the BFG's cave in Giant Country, Dream Country, and Buckingham Palace. 

"This production and the dedication the Arden has to children's theatre is truly an inspiration," said MacLaughlin. "The incredible work of the design teams, artists, and production staff show when these wonderful giants jump off the pages of The BFG and come to life, in a very real way, on the stage!"

The stars of The BFG, the giant puppets, are ready for their stage debut after months of design and production. There are eight total, some standing more than 10 feet tall. There are six people-eating and one vegetable- (snozz-cumber) eating giant. An additional girl puppet stands just two and a half feet tall.

 "The giants are so unique, " said Sebastienn Mundheim, Puppet Designer. "I moved away from creating human-ness in the giants. It felt complicated to make child-eaters look like anybody in the real world. I made bouncy hair out of paper. The eyes are my secret recipe. Many are made from a searching child-chewing hunger, some glittery surfaces, and some hairy ones, and antique buttons, over 60 years old, from my grandmother's sewing kit."

Eight talented and ambitious cast members perform as more than 30 characters throughout the show. The cast features Matteo Scammell (Dad/The BFG), known for previous Arden roles including Assassins, Charlotte's Web, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Legend of Georgia McBride. Sophie is played by Jessica Money, best known for roles at Arden such as 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Charlotte's Web, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, A Midsummer Night's Dream (2020 virtual production). The cast also includes local actors Bi Jean Ngo (Mom/Childchewer/Miss Plumridge/Queen of England), Adaeze Nwoko (Rebecca/Gizzardgulper/Rebecca (dreamer)/Undermaid/Queen of Sweden, Kishia Nixon (Sam/Bonecruncher/Classmate/Sam Simkins (Dreamer)/Head of Air Force), Newton Buchanan (Guy, Fleshlumpeater/Classmate/Ronald Simkins (Dream Dad)/Mr. Tibbs, and Jo Vito Ramirez (Daniel/Bloodbottler/Headmaster/Head of Army.

The Arden also creates an interactive opportunity for audience members during their family-friendly theatre productions. After each performance, patrons are invited to participate in a ten-minute question-and-answer session with cast members. Children are encouraged to ask the cast questions about the show, and the conversation is meant to encourage the imagination of younger theatre patrons.

Single tickets begin at $30, with discounts available for military with valid ID, students, groups of 10, seniors, children and teens. Discounts for purchasing a Children's Theatre Subscription are also available. Tickets are available online at www.ardentheatre.org, by phone at 215.922.1122, or in-person at the box office at the Arden at 40 N. 2nd Street.




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