Quincy Music Theatre’s production of James and the Giant Peach is set to open at The Leaf Theater in Quincy this weekend.
Directed by Dakota Miller, the theatrical adaptation of the 1961 novel written by Roald Dahl will be presented by the local theatre company for the first time ever.
The story tells the tale of an English orphan and friends who travel the world in a giant, mystical peach and the adventure that befalls their motley crew.
This adaptation features a songbook written by Tony Award-nominated duo of Pasek and Paul, and a script by award-winning playwright Timothy Allen McDonald.
The various cast and crew of Quincy Music Theatre are gearing up for the opening night, with rehearsal days consisting of early morning and late nights.
The production is made possible by the combined efforts of more than twenty-five people.
Many were excited, some willing to give their thoughts about the process and production.
“I’ve been involved with the Quincy Music Theatre since I was 12, six years ago, and definitely would describe myself as a more veteran actor here at the Quincy Music Theatre,” said Sarah Jean Gray, of Havana.
Sarah said she hopes to learn more of the mind behind the story through enacting his work.
“I encourage everyone, all people of all ages to view the show. The plot is a good one, a comedy-drama of sorts, quite lighthearted, invariably mixed with deeper themes,” Sarah said. “That is especially exemplified in my part, the role of Sponge. I myself as an actor hope to come away with a deeper understanding of Roald Dahl’s work.”
Paige Kinch of Tallahassee said she often enjoys acting between Quincy and Theatre Tallahassee.
“I play the role of Ladybug, who is formal yet endearing. Reserved, yet warm and motherly. Polished,” Kinch said.
This is her third time in one of the summer productions.
“The summer plays are unlike other plays put on throughout the year; they consist of intensives, a period of three weeks in which the cast drills their parts,” Kinch noted.
Kinch said normally, such a play would take two to three months to produce across a number of practice dates. “By compressing those extended periods, we are able to produce a play that, although slightly abridged in comparative length, is of an equally high quality,” said Kinch.
“I’ve been acting at the Quincy Music Theatre since I was six years old – these have been thirteen beautiful years. I have been working with Dakota since high school, and the cast is all-around great,” Kinch said. “For anyone interested in acting here, I would say, do it. It is very low stress, high-quality learning at our community theatre. We hope to see you at the show!”
In the title role of James is Jubileeah Gray, sister of Sarah Gray.
It will be the 12-year-old’s first time in a leading role.
“James is a special character,” Jubileeah said. “As he learns to grow around his friends, he comes to care very deeply for them.”
Jubileeah said she got into theatre because some of her family members are often deeply involved.
“I am really excited to have this experience, as I do love to sing,” Jubileeah said. “I hope many people come.”
Olga Connolly, Executive Director of Quincy Music Theatre also shared her thoughts.
“This is a new, exciting, fun end-of-summer show for everyone,” said Connolly.
Having been associated with Quincy Music Theatre for many decades, she feels strongly about the production’s effect, for children especially.
“We’re adapting this from a book teachers often use in the classroom–essentially, this is literature coming to life. This will also be our first-time presenting James and the Giant Peach. Our cast is highly committed to the
effort, ensuring the play is the best play that it can possibly be, ” Connolly said. “If you’re an adult, come for two hours to experience what it is like being a child. Again.”
James and The Giant Peach opens on Friday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m.
The showings will extend the entirety of the weekend, with two performances on Saturday, July 29 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, July 30, there will only be one show, which will begin at 2:30 p.m.
The cost for adults is $20, for Seniors/Military $17 and for students of all ages $15.
Tickets may be purchased at www.quincymusictheatre.com or by calling the box office Wednesday through Friday between 2-5 p.m. at 850-875-9444.
James – Jubi Gray
Ladahlord – Madison Schatz
Ladybug – Paige Kinch
Spider – Lili Gray
Grasshopper – Jacob Hardy
Earthworm – Ezri Britton
Centipede – Max Atwater
Aunt Spiker – Carissa Masuda
Aunt Sponge – Sarah Jane Gray
Director – Dakota Miller
Music Director – Madeline Zucker
Choreographer – Helena Connolly
Stage Manager – Steven Woodell
Costumer – Kane Keefer
Light Designer – Joseph MacMichael
Carpenter – Jack Jammer
Rubén Darío Uribe – Gadsden County News Service