BWW Previews: JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH at Christian Youth Theater Phoenix
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, Christian Youth Theater's second show of the season, opens on February 2nd and runs through February 11th. The show will be performed at the Mesa Arts Center in the Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse.
When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that results in a tremendous peach... and launches a journey of enormous proportions. Suddenly, James finds himself in the center of the gigantic peach, among human-sized insects with equally oversized personalities, but after it falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean, the group faces hunger, sharks, and plenty of disagreements. Thanks to James' quick wit and creative thinking, the residents learn to live and work together as a family. The dangerous voyage is a success, but the adventure takes a whole new twist once they land on the Empire State Building.
Full of laughter, excitement, and unexpected effects, cast members describe the show as "super fun, happy and dark. It's a wonderful show full of diversity. It's about what a family is." They also describe JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH as " an interesting story-absolutely 'fan-tas-marific.'"
One thing that most of the cast is exceedingly ecstatic about? Dexter Tuten (Stage Manager) adds, "You need to see our peach! All the visual aesthetics are larger than life like the vision of Roald Dahl himself. We have some unexpected special effects as well." A cast member describes the choreography, created by Isaac Wesley Wilson, as "new and funky". It's definitely an aspect of the show that audiences can look forward to seeing!
"The direction of the show is centered from a very movement-driven place" says Isaac Wesley Wilson (Choreographer), "Not just with the visual effect but the entire spirit moves quickly through this thrilling story!"
With music by Pasek and Paul, the show is full of upbeat, exciting musical numbers, a perfect fit for this diverse cast of wonderfully talented kids. CYT (Christian Youth Theater) has been providing opportunities for students to learn and put on full-stage productions since 1980, and it has since become the largest youth theater program in the United States.
Director Kim Stephenson Smith focuses in on the true meaning of Dahl's renowned story turned musical, highlighting some of the most heartwarming aspects of the show. "Working on this brilliant adaptation of James and the Giant Peach has reminded me why I loved Dahl's story in the first place" she says, "These characters and their 'fan-tas-mar-rific' adventures are as compelling as ever. But beyond that, I have come to appreciate the transformational nature of James' journey and what he learns about the power of friendship, the importance of family, and the search for home."
She mentions that we all occasionally reach the "Middle of a Moment" in life, a time to decide to stay where we are or take a bold step forward on a potentially unexpected and enormous adventure.
To tie it all together, Smith emphasizes, "May the adventures of our lives lead us to great friends, true family, and help us all find our way home."
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH runs from February 2nd through February 11th. The show will be performed at the Mesa Arts Center in the Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse. Tickets are available at cytphoenix.org, or by clicking here.