James and the Giant Peach

Old Green Grasshopper (Zane Reisert), joins James (Evan Arganbright) and Ms. Spider (Janell Angel) on a magical journey in Theater Works’ production of Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach.”

Photo by Arthur Zatarski

Theater Works will present Roald Dahl’s “James And The Giant Peach” Feb. 3 through 20.

The play follows the traditional “James and the Giant Peach,” but with some fantastical elements.

The play will feature gifted puppeteer, Ruth Sager, who has created exciting shadow puppet sequences for the “shadow world,” and traditional hand puppets will also be used. Another aspect of the production will be the costumes and props, which are inspired by the “steam punk” genre. 

“James and the Giant Peach” will be performed in the McMillin Black Box, which is being used in ways that it has never been used before.

“Everything is based in reality but with the ‘steam punk’ style we are able to embellish it and make it more interesting to the eye.” said Chris Hamby, director. 

Hamby’s other Theater Works credits include “The Ransom of Red Chief,” “The Bridge to Terabithia” and “Still Life With Iris” (ariZoni nomination). Hamby also has worked with Vagabond Youth Theatre, East Valley Children’s Theatre, The Phoenix Center Youth Theater, Seattle Children’s Theater, Childsplay and Phoenix Theater. He is also the director of Puppet Works, the new puppet theater at Theater Works.

The story of Roald Dahl’s classic tale is faithfully told by James himself and the insect characters: Miss Spider, Old Green-Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird and Earthworm. Young orphan James is sent to live with his horrible Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. Long days of grueling chores and demeaning remarks from his aunts make James’ life miserable, until one day when a mysterious stranger arrives and suddenly James’s life is turned upside-down.

When the stranger accidentally spills some unusual crystals on his aunts’ withered peach tree, magic abounds and James finds an enormous peach growing in his yard.

James crawls inside to the center of the peach, where he finds an unusual group of talking insects. The peach starts rolling downhill and James’ extraordinary adventure begins. 

Tickets are on sale online at theaterworks.org and at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. 

The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and may be reached at 623-815-7930. 

Performances will be at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with matinee performances 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for students (prices include service and processing fees). 

Theater Works is in the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts at 8355 W. Peoria Ave., Peoria.

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