‘James and the Giant Peach’ lands at Valley Youth Theatre

“James and the Giant Peach,” a lively musical based on the much-loved children’s book written by Roald Dahl, lands on stage at Valley Youth Theatre beginning Oct. 9, showcasing a magical cast of creepy-crawly characters.

Owen Watson plays the lead role of James in VYT's "James and the Giant Peach."

Owen Watson plays the lead role of James in VYT’s “James and the Giant Peach.”

Dahl’s other famous works include “Matild” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” otherwise known as “Willy Wonka,” which was adapted for the stage by the same noted playwright as “James and the Giant Peach,” Timothy Allen McDonald.

Meet James, a young orphan boy, who is forced to live with his evil aunts when his parents suddenly pass away.  One day his mean-spirited aunts send him out to chop down their old fruit tree.

While out in the yard, his miserable existence takes a dramatic turn when he discovers a magic potion that creates a gigantic peach.  Suddenly, James finds himself inside the massive peach on a dangerous journey as it falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean.

Aboard the great traveling peach, he encounters human-sized insects whose personalities are equally oversized.  In order to survive, they all must learn to live and work together as a family.

“This is such a fun musical and the score, composed by a Tony-nominated team (Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), is incredibly touching,” says Bobb Cooper, VYT’s producing artistic director.

“During the auditions, I was brought to tears when two of my cast members (Addison Bowman and Isabella Conner) sang a beautiful ballad from the score called ‘Everywhere That You Are’, a song the bugs sing to James assuring him that even though his parents are gone, they will always be with him in spirit.”

“James” boasts a young cast, headlined by 11-year-old Owen Watson.  Owen, who attends Arizona School for the Arts, is returning to the VYT stage for his sixth production.

Alex Watson, Owen’s older brother, also joins “James” for his fourth show as a part of the production team operating all the fun gadgets behind the scenes.

Charlie Siegel

Charlie Siegel

“VYT is very family oriented,” says Cooper, “and we are always excited when families get involved in shows together. Being a part of a show together can be both thrilling and a real test of love.”

Other noted young actors include: Sam Primack (Earthworm), who appeared as Pugsley Addams on the national tour of “The Addams Family” and Charlie Siegel, who performed in the national tour of “Wizard of OZ,” returns for his 12th show with VYT.

“James and the Giant Peach” the second production of VYT’s 27th season, opens on Oct. 9 and runs through Oct. 25.  Shows times vary according to the day and ticket prices are $18 not including fees.

For more information or to purchase tickets call the box office 602-252-8188, Ext. 307 or visit www.vyt.com.

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