A sensational musical event makes its area debut at Venice Theatre
Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach appears on MainStage May 17 – 22
Venice, FL, April 28, 2016 – Venice Theatre is delighted to present its “Generations” production of the new musical
Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. The show will have a limited run on the theatre’s MainStage Tuesday May 17 through Sunday May 22, 2016. Performances are at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. There are also school-time performances for area teachers and students on Wednesday, May 18 and Friday, May 20 at 11 a.m. Tickets are on sale now at www.VeniceStage.com or by calling 941-488-1115. Prices are $10 for students through 12th grade, $13 for college students and $18 for adults.
James and the Giant Peach is described by Music Theatre International as “a delightfully offbeat musical” based on the classic 1961 book by Roald Dahl. The fantasy story features a boy, his insect friends, and their journey across the ocean on a giant peach. With a book by Timothy Allen McDonald (The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley) and a score by Tony Award nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach premiered to critical acclaim at the Seattle Children’s Theatre in 2013. The Seattle Times raved, “The captivating world-premiere musical delights in dressing up the story in bright colors and jazzy tunes. It stays true to the author by not talking down to kids, and not sugaring up a story that finds its own zigzag route to a happy ending.”
Keeping with the mission of Venice Theatre’s Generations Series, the musical is designed to appeal to all ages. BroadwayWorld.com said in its review, “Whether you’re a parent looking for an outing for the kids, a lover of musicals who’s interested in the latest local offering or a fan of the book, there’s something here for everyone.”
That “something” is rooted in an adventure story about James, a young boy who is orphaned and finds a loving family in an extraordinary way. Sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, James discovers a magic potion which results in a tremendous peach occupied by some not-so-normal characters. From the center of the gigantic fruit, James and the unlikely crew of human-sized insects launch an oceanic journey of enormous proportions. The group faces hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements. Thanks to James’ quick wit and creative thinking, the crew learns to live and work together as a family. The dangerous voyage is a success, but the adventure takes a surprising twist once they land on the Empire State Building.
Director/Choreographer Brad Wages and Music Director Eli Schildkraut have assembled a diverse cast to bring the story to life. Judah Woomert who captured the hearts of Sarasota audiences when he starred in the Players production of A Christmas Story (also composed by Pasek and Paul) plays the title role. His mean aunts are played by area theatre veteran Kristi Hibschman and New York-based acting intern Kat Sallet. Several members of Venice Theatre’s acting internship program appear in the show: Nethaneel Williams is the magical storyteller, Ladahlord. DaNiesha Carr is the friendly Spider; and Kevin Ray Johnson takes on the role of the neurotic Earthworm.
Rounding out the cast are Stephen Emery as the fiddle-playing Green Grasshopper, Lisa Figueroa as the motherly Ladybug, Beckett Phanmiller as the ornery Centipede and Angela Benardo as the Nurse. The ensemble features local elementary, middle and high school students. The full cast is listed below.
Venice Theatre would like to thank the sponsors of James and the Giant Peach – Carole Raymond, Eric Watters and the Podewitz Family – for their generous support.
Again, James and the Giant Peach opens Tuesday May 17 and will run through Sunday May 22, 2016. The theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. on the island in Venice. Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, and one hour before all performances.
Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach
Book by Timothy Allen McDonald
Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Based on the book James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Music Director: Eli Schildkraut
Choreographer: Brad Wages
Stage Manager: Sue Brennan
Scenic Designer: Brian Freeman
Lighting Designer: Robert Graham
Costume Designer: Nicholas Hartman
Sound Designer: Jaclyn LeDoux
Ladahlord: Nethaneel Williams
James: Judah Woomert
Spiker: Kat Sallet
Sponge: Kristi Hibschman
Nurse: Angela Benardo
Ladybug: Lisa Figueroa
Spider: DaNiesha Carr
Centipede: Beckett Phanmiller
Grasshopper: Stephen Emery
Earthworm: Kevin Ray Johnson
Male Ensemble: James McGarr, Casey Berkery, Noah Rodriguez, Zachary Thompson, Ryan Hunek, Ben Dubin
Female Ensemble: Anna Sand-Lambert, Ava Podewitz, Chloe Marchand, Natalie Taylor, Haley Vidolin, Claudia Hassler, Emily Mollin, Samantha Crawford, Kiley Berkery, Allison Pickens
About Venice Theatre
Venice Theatre is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a dramatic impact on all stages of life. The second-largest of 10,000 community theatres in the United States, it is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. in Venice, FL. Its MainStage offers seating for 432 patrons and features musicals, plays, concerts and special events. Its Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre seats 90 patrons and is home to the theatre’s “Generations,” Stage II and Cabaret Series. In addition to providing entertainment to the community, Venice Theatre offers a wide range of education and outreach programs for children and adults.