2017-08-09 / Arts & Entertainment News

KidzAct teens bring beloved Roald Dahl tale to life


James Boland, center, stars as the title character in “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” Christina Young, left, and Addison Smith star as the young orphan’s conniving aunts. 
PATRICE SHIELDS / COURTESY PHOTO James Boland, center, stars as the title character in “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” Christina Young, left, and Addison Smith star as the young orphan’s conniving aunts. PATRICE SHIELDS / COURTESY PHOTO Set sail with an orphan boy and his insect friends on an amazing journey across the ocean on a giant piece of fruit when

The Naples Players’ KidzAct troupe presents “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” The delightfully offbeat musical adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl adventure tale takes the stage Friday through Sunday, Aug. 11-13, in the Tobye Studio at the Sugden Community Theatre.

“Behind its wit and whimsy, “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” explores some sophisticated themes. How do we define our family, and how do we start over after a big loss?” Craig Price, TNP director of education, says. “James is a child put in a remarkable situation, and with the help and support of some new friends he is able to achieve great things.

“Similarly, these KidzAct students are working together in extraordinary ways to present this musical.”

Thirty KidzAct actors ages 9-14 have spent the past few weeks working on the production with Mr. Price, choreographer Lauren Raleigh and musical director Lisa Federico. The novel’s adaptation for the stage is brought to life with music and lyrics by the Tony-nominated songwriters Justin Paul and Benj Pasek and book by Timothy Allen McDonald.

James (played by Brian Boland) is a young orphan who finds a loving family in a most peculiar way. Sent by his mean, conniving aunts Spiker (Addison Smith) and Sponge (Christina Young) to chop down their old fruit tree, the boy discovers a magic potion that results in a tremendous peach occupied by some not-so-normal characters.

From the center of the gigantic fruit, James and an unlikely crew of insects including a grasshopper (Camden Karen), a spider (Lila Mastro), an earthworm (Jayden Serna) and a centipede (Phillip Hajjar) launch a journey of enormous proportions. Together they discover that while we are all born into a family, we go on to create a family of our own.

“By the end of the show we all learn a little something about each other and ourselves,” Mr. Price says. ¦

‘James and the Giant Peach Jr.’

>> Who: KidzAct of The Naples Players

>> When: 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 11-12; 2 p.m Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12-13

>> Where: The Tobye Studio at the Sugden Community Theatre

>> Cost: $20 ($10 for students and educators)

>> Info: 263-7990 or www.naplesplayers.org

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