Latest Press Release - James and the Giant Peach

PRESS RELEASE: NWCT’s 21st Season Gets Off to Big Start with Roald Dahl’s
James and the Giant Peach

Friday, September 6, 2013

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Take to the skies on the wings of a…peach? Anything is possible when young James Trotter (J.J. Pen) discovers a magical escape from his dreary life with aunts Spiker and Sponge (Tai Sammons and Melanie Moseley). A chance encounter with a magical stranger, a bag filled with mysterious crocodile tongues, and an unexpected accident lead to the creation of the largest peach the world has ever seen! After climbing aboard the giant fruit, James finds himself surrounded by a rag-tag group of friendly insects: Centipede (John Ellingson), Spider (Annie Willis), Earthworm (Sam Burns), Grasshopper (Zero Feeney), and Ladybug (Madeleine Delaplane). Adventure awaits the unlikely crew as James captains the peach across the Atlantic; flying, floating, and rolling away from a life of loneliness and isolation into to a brighter, more hopeful future.

James and the Giant Peach, a “fantasy adventure for children” by master storyteller Roald Dahl, was originally published in 1961. Dahl’s first-ever novel for children, the book enjoyed wild popularity and was made into a animated film by Disney in 1996. This fall, NWCT will open our 2013-14 Season of Plays with a theatrical adaptation which, dramatized by playwright Richard R. George with direct input from the author, retains the original story’s richness of character.

Co-directed by NWCT Artistic Director Sarah Jane Hardy, the play brings insect-protagonists to life through a combination of mask and puppetry designed by Co-Director John Ellingson (whose designs for last year’s The BFG earned him a 2013 Drammy Award for Outstanding Puppetry). “It was very important to me that the bugs look like bugs,” says Hardy. “People generally don’t view bugs as having potential, and the way they are treated and despised reflects Jame’s forced isolation. The more human they are, the less impact they have.”

Associate Artistic Director John Ellingson’s anthropomorphized insects come to life with his human-sized, wearable puppets. An ensemble of veteran NWCT students and performers (Joshua Hooper, Annika Cutler, Stephanie Roessler and Leif Schmit) complete the cast of friendly insects, grumpy Cloud Men, and hungry sharks met along the way. Collaborative Design team John Ellingson, Kristeen Crosser, and Jen LaMastra will create the whimsical world inside and outside the peach, while Rodolfo
Ortega’s original sound design and score provide the pulse of adventure.

This year, NWCT families won’t have to wait for opening night to meet the cast. Starting on Sept. 7, NWCT season subscribers will be receiving house calls from NWCT characters (including Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Little Red Riding Hood and more) delivering their show tickets for theyear. Arranged through a partnership with ZipCar, this will be NWCT’s second year performing the popular “Character Ticket Deliveries,” visiting homes across the city.

James and the Giant Peach is presented through special arrangement with the Dramatic Publishing Company. It is produced in part by presenting sponsor Kafoury & McDougal and season sponsors, The Collins Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust, Regional Arts and Culture Council and Work for Art, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, and NWCT Donor Circle Members. Over 4,000 school children will fly with us across the Atlantic during six student matinee performances.


TICKETS 503-222-4480

Online sales available at


WHEN: September 28 - October 27, 2013

WHERE: NW Neighborhood Cultural Center • 1819 NW Everett Street, Portland • Participants pick up their event programs and start tour here.

TICKETS: 503-222-4480 or online at

AGE RANGE: Most enjoyed by ages 6 and up

INFO: 503-222-4480 or


Release Date: September 6, 2013

Kill Date: October 27, 2013

Media Contact: To set up interviews or discuss other possibilities for feature stories, please contact: Marri-Beth Serritella, Sucha Production, Inc. at 503-528-1370 or

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