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Arden Theatre Company presents James and the Giant Peach
By David Wood from the novel by Roald Dahl - Directed by Whit MacLaughlin - On the F. Otto Haas Stage - December 10, 2008-February 8, 2009
Media Photos

November 3, 2008

Philadelphia, PA - Arden Theatre Company presents James and the Giant Peach, based on Roald Dahl's beloved children's book, on the F. Otto Haas Stage from December 10, 2008 through February 8, 2009 as part of Arden Children's Theatre. Join the Arden for this delightfully imaginative production, perfect for the whole family this holiday season! This production is sponsored by PECO. Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia. For tickets, call 215.922.1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org.

From the author of the Arden's smash hit The BFG, another of Roald Dahl's beloved books comes to vivid life. 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's 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 very center of the peach where he finds an unusual group of talking insects. The peach starts rolling downhill and James' extraordinary adventure begins.

James and the Giant Peach is directed by Whit MacLaughlin, who has helmed numerous Arden children's productions. "I am always striving to invent new and exciting worlds for families at the Arden," said Whit. "I created a world of puppets, humans and gigantic scale shifts in The Big Friendly Giant (The BFG), a world of time and adventure in Sleeping Beauty, and a safe haven for friendship in A Year with Frog and Toad. Now, in James and the Giant Peach, we are building a whole imaginative universe out of live actors interacting with animations. It's kinda like Pixar, but LIVE."

Jorge Cousineau, Philadelphia's acclaimed sound and lighting designer, has collaborated with Whit and the rest of the artistic team to create the "imaginative universe" referred to above. In addition to the use of paper animation, the set will feature a larger-than-life peach that will tower over 15 feet!

The cast is comprised of Arden veterans as well as some dynamic newcomers. James Ijames, previously seen at the Arden in An Empty Plate at the Café du Grand Beouf will star as James. Stephanie English is new to the Arden and will play the role of Aunt Sponge alongside Harum Ulmer, Jr. (The Piano Lesson) who will play the role of Aunt Spiker. Additional cast members include: Frederick Andersen (Our Town) as Earthworm, Oberon Adjepong (The Piano Lesson, Our Town) as Grasshopper, Ceal Phelan (Hard Times) as Spider, Amanda Schoonover (Arden debut) as Ladybird, and Brian Osborne (Arden debut) as Centipede.

In addition to MacLaughlin and Cousineau, the spectacular story will be created by scenic designer Matt Saunders (Syringa Tree), costume designer Christal Weatherly (Arden debut), and lighting designer Brian J. Lilienthal (Sleeping Beauty). James and the Giant Peach features a playful original score by award-winning actor, musician and composer James Sugg who was last seen at the Arden as Charles Guiteau in Assassins.

Roald Dahl (September 13, 1916 - November 23, 1990) was a British author, famous as a writer for both children and adults. Among his most popular children's books are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and The Witches. Dahl's first children's book was The Gremlins, commissioned by Walt Disney and published in 1942. In addition to writing some of the best-loved children's stories of the 20th century, Dahl also wrote adult short stories and screenplays, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (both adaptations of novels by Ian Fleming). He adapted his own work into the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Enhance your performance experience - kids 7 and older and their adult chaperones are invited to join the Family Usher Network (FUN). FUN gives kids a behind-the-scenes peek at how plays are created, instills the value of community involvement and teaches valuable social skills. FUN ushers receive an exclusive backstage tour, hand out programs, tear tickets, seat patrons and help straighten up the theatre after the show. For information call the box office at 215.922.1122.

Every performance includes a post-show question and answer session with the cast and all kids receive a free commemorative show poster and are invited to meet the cast in the lobby after each performance.

With support from Verizon, the Arden will provide free books to students through Arden For All, Arden Theatre Company's theatre access program for underserved populations.

The Arden is fully wheelchair accessible and provides assisted listening devices and large-print programs at every performance. Reservations are required for accessible seating and may be made by calling the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122. An ASL performance is scheduled for January 31, 2009 at 2pm.

The Arden is proud to announce the Target 2 for 1 Family Series, a ticket discount program generously sponsored by Target. This program offers two tickets for the price of one during selected performances of James and the Giant Peach. Please refer to the show calendars at www.ardentheatre.org for the designated performances. There is a limit of four discounted orders (8 tickets) per transaction, available while supplies last.

Arden Theatre Company also offers Arden Drama School, a wide array of classes and day camps for elementary through high school aged children. Visit our kid friendly site at www.ardentheatre.org/ardendramaschool.

James and the Giant Peach begins previews on Wednesday, December 10; opening night is scheduled for Saturday, December 13 at 7pm; and the show then runs through Sunday, February 8, 2009. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, visit us online at www.ardentheatre.org, or stop by the box office. Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 N. 2nd Street in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Old City Philadelphia.

Production artwork is available for download at www.ardentheatre.org/news/photos.html.

WHAT:
James and the Giant Peach
By David Wood from the novel by Roald Dahl
Directed by Whit MacLaughlin
On the F. Otto Haas Stage

SUMMARY:
From the author of the Arden's smash hit The BFG, another of Roald Dahl's beloved books comes to vivid life on the Haas Stage. Young orphan James is sent to live with his horrible Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. Life is hard until a mysterious stranger arrives. Suddenly, magic abounds and James finds an ENORMOUS peach growing in his yard containing talking insects - including a violin playing grasshopper - and his remarkable adventure begins. Arden Children's Theatre is most enjoyed by families with children 5 and older.

WHERE:
Arden Theatre Company
F. Otto Haas Stage
40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia

WHEN:
December 10, 2008 February 8, 2009
Preview performances: December 10 through December 13
Opening night: December 13, 2008 @ 7pm
Reviewing members of the press are invited to attend opening night and are welcomes to invite the children in their lives. Please reserve tickets by contacting Janine Zappone at jzappone@ardentheatre.org.

TICKETS:
Tickets are $14 -$16 for children (12 and under)
$18 - $22 for teens (13 - 17)
$26 - $30 for adults depending on the performances chosen.
Group discounts available for 20+
Target 2 for 1 Family Series, a ticket discount program generously sponsored by Target, offers two tickets for the price of one during selected performance, subject to availability. Limit 8 tickets per transaction, date and details available online.
Student Rush tickets at the door only five minutes before curtain for $5 cash, pending availability (must present valid student ID)
Call the Box Office at 215.922.1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org

CAST:
Oberon Adjepong - Grasshopper (resident of Germantown, Philadelphia)
Frederick Andersen - Earthworm (resident of Gloucester City, NJ)
Stephanie English - Aunt Sponge (resident of Newark, DE)
James Ijames - James (resident of East Falls, Philadelphia)
Brian Osborne - Centipede (resident of Germantown, Philadelphia)
Ceal Phelan - Spider (resident of Malvern, PA)
Amanda Schoonover - Ladybird (resident of Old City, Philadelphia)
Harum "RJ" Ulmer - Aunt Spiker (resident of Center City, Philadelphia)

ARTISTIC STAFF:
Whit MacLaughlin - Director
Matt Saunders - Set Designer
Brian J. Lilienthal - Lighting Designer
Christal Weatherly - Costume Designer
Jorge Cousineau - Sound Designer / Video and Projections Designer
James Sugg - Composer
Elana Wolff - Stage Manager
Meghan Walsh - Assistant Director

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©2009 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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