James and the Giant Peach Review at the ZACH Theatre (Local Austin, Texas)

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James and the Giant Peach Review at the ZACH Theatre (Local Austin, Texas)

ZACH Theatre is proud to produce James and the Giant Peach, playing on the Kleberg Stage from February 19, 2016 through April 10, 2016 under the direction of ABE REYBOLD, ZACH Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director.

  • Adapted to script from a 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
  • WHO: ZACH Theatre Family Series
  • WHAT: James and the Giant Peach
  • WHEN: February 19-April 10, 2016
    • Public Shows Friday, February 19 at 6:30 p.m., select Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and select Sundays at 2 p.m.
  • WHERE: In the Kleberg Theatre

TICKETS: 512-476-0594 X236 or http://tickets.zachtheatre.org/single/PSDetail.aspx?psn=3579

JAMES AND GIANT PEACH art

About Roald Dahl:  Before I tell you about the amazing book James and the Giant Peach by the famous Roald Dahl, I have to first tell you that 2016 is the year that book lovers everywhere are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.  That’s right, Dahl was born on September 13, 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff, United Kingdom (or more precisely in Wales.)  He lived quite an interesting life from being a fighter pilot in WWII to being a poet, a screen-writer and a best selling author.  He wrote both adult and children’s books although his children’s books are often described as ‘dark comedies’.  I happened to be a child obsessed with Dahl’s works and my favorite book of his was The BFG (or Big Friendly Giant, in case you didn’t know), but James and the Giant Peach was one of his books that topped my ‘favorites list’.  While he normally depicted adults as villainous enemies (which what child wouldn’t love?) his overall stories championed the kind-hearted and had an underlying warm sentiment.  Dahl’s works for children include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine. Adult works include Tales of the Unexpected.  See more at https://www.roalddahl.com/ including the lesson plans for James and the Giant Peach!

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About Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach:  In Dahl’s story, James and the Giant Peach, written in 1961, a four year old James is orphaned and sent to live with his two cruel aunts where he is badly mistreated.  One summer day, a mysterious man gives James a potion and tells him that when you drink it you will find happiness and have great adventures.  On his way back to his aunts’ house, young James spills his potion on a barren peach tree that ends up sprouting a peach as BIG as a HOUSE!  WOW!  His aunts, who see this as a way to make money, sell tickets to all of their neighbors to see this Giant Peach.  After his aunts send James to pick up all the trash left by the spectators, James finds a secret room inside the peach seed filled with magical human-sized insects who accompany him on his adventures in the peach after it falls from the tree and into the ocean.  In a fantastic rescue from sea and upon landing on top of the Empire State Building, the Giant Peach is soon brought down to the streets where all the children in the city eat the fruit and James is left to live in the massive peach pit right in Central Park.  In conclusion, James is able to live happily ever after!

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ZACH Theatre Production

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While much of this play is very familiar to Dahl’s original story, the writer, Timothy Allen McDonald, gave some of his own spin to this story to make this a very charming family musical.  The play is suitable for ages 5 and older and it’s a wonderful way to bring the entire family to enjoy together!  This is the largest show ZACH has ever done for their family series and features more than 50 puppets and very impressive set pieces.

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About the Show: When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion, which 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 over-sized 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 in this charming family musical.

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Our Experience at the play James and the Giant Peach at the ZACH

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender[1] FullSizeRender[2]  My family before the play began!

I was so excited for our girls to see James and the Giant Peach.  Brooke and I had read the book and, as most of Roald Dalh’s children’s books, there are some darker parts to his stories that Brooke knew about.  I was curious to see how they would portray James as an orphan and his sinister (yet not so bright) aunts who gladly took James in as ‘his only family left’ thanks to the nice paycheck they would receive, would be shown in a play aimed for ages 5 and up.  I’m happy to say that both Brooke and Brie enjoyed the show and only once when the lights went dim did Brie say, “Mommy, I’m scared!”, which was quickly followed up with her smiling and clapping with the lights came back.  It was so fun to see them enjoying the story as much as I do – and DID when I was younger – with some nice little family-friendly spins.

The first half of the hour long play (that includes a nice 15 minute intermission in the middle) focuses on how James comes to live with his aunts and how his love of insects comes full circle when he encounters the old and rotted peach tree his aunts insist that little James cut down.  As in the book, James meets a mysterious stranger who has the ingredients to create a magic elixir that accidentally gets on the tree instead of in James!  The cast turns from insect puppets into life-sized versions after the lone magic peach that sprouts from the barren tree becomes GIGANTIC.  The songs were lovely and each member of the cast was amazing in their role.  The worrisome earthworm to the hilariously evil Spiker and Sponge were correctly cast and the boy who played James not only did a wonderful job acting, the boy could sing.  The English accents were a nice touch and a nod to the UK-born Dahl.  Lovely!  The intermission came too soon, but it was a welcome break for our kiddos who happily had restroom breaks and went to the theatre’s little craft corner.  During intermission, we also got to see an outside portion of the production of Alice in Wonderland, which is also playing at the ZACH simultaneously (it just began last night!)  What fun!

FullSizeRender[3]  FullSizeRender[4]  Intermission

After intermission, the girls were ready to find out the fate of James and his humanoid insects as they floated in the ocean to an unknown destination.  Even knowing how the book ends, we were all on the edge of our seats as Spiker and Sponge catch wind of ‘their’ giant peach in the water as they are in route to New York City.  Without completely spoiling the ending, our kids were dancing in their seats and we almost couldn’t believe it when it was over.  As always, we waited in line to meet the cast and take pictures.  That’s always a highlight of our trips to the ZACH.  We had also bought some light refreshments before the play began – which is always a must for Brooke and Brie – and since we caught the earlier show, Bob and I had coffee (double YES!).  The ZACH is such a fun adventure and each and every play is so different and exciting.  We are looking forward to seeing Alice in Wonderland next and Brooke is enrolled at an upcoming ZACH camp for kids which she is so excited to attend.  Our lives have been enriched by the ZACH’s family productions and we look forward to many more in the future.  Who knows?  Maybe one day we will be watching our girls on the stage because they certainly seem to be heading in that direction.  It’s a wonderful way to introduce children to the arts and since Brooke and I always make sure we are well versed in the book before seeing the play, we use the ZACH’s plays to enrich her reading and learning experience.  We feel so fortunate to be part of the audience.  Thank you, ZACH Theatre for another home run.

IMG_8776  Brooke and Brie with the cast after the play!

The James and the Giant Peach Cast

  • Diego Rodriguez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James
  • Chris Carpenter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James
  • Sara Burke. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ladahlord
  • Megan Richards Wright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spider
  • Gustavo Gomez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Earthworm
  • Russel Taylor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Centipede
  • Michael Marchese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Grasshopper
  • Jessica O’Brien. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lady Bug
  • Kim Stacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sponge
  • Amber Quick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spiker

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Plan Your Trip! 

Here are a few things to note:

  • ZACH Theatre does offer drinks and snacks (including alcoholic beverages).
  • ATMs are not available on site so plan accordingly.
  • There is no specific dress code, but business casual is appreciate.
  • While children’s shows are for kids and their families, they do prohibit infants from attending their Mainstage productions to avoid distractions.
  • ZACH is fully handicap accessible and compliant.
  • The Kleberg Stage (where James and the Giant Peach takes place) is located at 1421 W Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78704.

The ZACH campus features three theaters each with differing seating configurations and excellent sight lines, so check your ticket to make sure you know the correct location: 

  • Topfer Theater: a 420-seat proscenium stage in which the seating fans around the stage in an arc, much like movie theater stadium-style seating.
  • Kleberg Theatre: a 230-seat thrust stage, with the audience seated on three sides
  • Whisenhunt Theatre: a 130-seat arena stage, also known as a theater-in-the-round.

Parking at ZACH Theatre:

In addition to nearby street parking on Toomey Road, Sterzing Street, Lee Barton Drive, Riverside Drive, and Jessie and Butler Streets (see map here), parking for ZACH patrons attending a performance is also available at ZACH’s Whisenhunt Theatre, at ZACH’s Topfer Theatre, behind the Parks and Recreation Department at night and on Sundays, and at The Bicycle Shop just south of Barton Springs and Lamar by McDonald’s.

James and the Giant Peach Performance Schedule:

  • Fri 2/19/16 6:30PM
  • Sat 2/20/16 11:00AM
  • Sun 2/21/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 2/27/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 2/27/16 2:00PM Autism/Sensory-Friendly Performance
  • Sun 2/28/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 3/5/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 3/5/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 3/6/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 3/12/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 3/12/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 3/13/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 3/19/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 3/19/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 3/20/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 3/26/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 3/26/16 2:00PM Sign Interpreted Performance
  • Sun 3/27/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 4/2/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 4/2/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 4/3/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 4/9/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 4/9/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 4/10/16 4:30PM

About the ZACH Theatre:  Located at 1510 Toomey Road – Austin, TX 78704 (Phone (512) 476-0541), the ZACH Theatre is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization located in Austin,Texas.  

Support the ZACH Theatre!

ZACH Theatre - Sources of Support

ZACH thrives and prospers with support from patrons like you. Be a part of our cast of generous individual donors, family foundations, corporate sponsors and volunteers. It’s easy to donate your time, resources and ideas to make a difference at ZACH. Join us for our fantastic special events, exclusive behind-the-scenes opportunities and opening night celebrations as you support artistic excellence on our stages and valuable arts educational programming in our community.  Learn more about how you can donate HERE.

James and the Giant Peach Review at the ZACH Theatre (Local Austin, Texas)

http://www.zachtheatre.org

List Price: $26.00 (Youth) – $29.00 (Adult)

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