NOVA Center for the Performing Arts -- Billings, Montana

James and the Giant Peach

Presented for the first time ever on NOVA’s stage!

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James and the Giant Peach is sure to have you amazed! Adapted by David Wood from Roald Dahl’s popular children’s story, James and the Giant Peach tells the story of James Henry Trotter and his incredible escape from his evil aunts.

James and the Giant Peach will be directed by Kelsey Steffan.

Performance dates are March 10, 11, 12* and 17, 18, 19* 2017.
Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 P.M.
Sunday matinee performances are at 2:00* P.M.

Ticket prices are $16 for adults and $10 for students/senior/military.

*Blue Book coupons apply only to our adult priced tickets.

Watch a trailer for James and the Giant Peach here
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'James and the Giant Peach' takes off at NOVA
• By JACI WEBB jwebb@billingsgazette.com

• Mar 10, 2017

There is a moment in “James and the Giant Peach” when a line of ukulele players strolls into the Roebling Theater at NOVA Center for the Performing Arts mixing Roald Dahl’s wacky poetry with melodic chords.
That scene will play out again and again during the production, which opens Friday and runs through March 19.
The script didn’t call for the ukuleles or the music, but that’s the beauty behind children’s theater — young people are encouraged to bring their innovation. When that youthful energy is paired with experienced hands like director Kelsey Reid Steffan, it's magic. Dahl would likely be thrilled.

Steffan and Bekah Kellison-Decker grew up at NOVA, much like their young cast is doing. Steffan, 24, performed in her first show at age 8. She met her assistant stage manager Seja Foster when Steffan was a sophomore in high school teaching kids at summer camp. Foster was 5 or 6 years old, and one of Steffan's most promising students.

“It’s so cool working with kids like Seja, knowing what they’re capable of,” Steffan said.

Dahl’s 1961 novel was turned into a fantasy musical film in 1996, keeping the same sweet story line of young James Henry Trotter and his big dreams. The stage production was not scripted to include music, but Steffan’s crew wanted to see what they could create. A small band will perform original songs backstage and the ukulele players will perform out front with poetry and music throughout the production, with the exception of one poem that will be rapped.

“James and the Giant Peach” takes a magical peach and James and his insect friends on an incredible journey. Dahl’s story reveals the wickedness of some, the goodness of others, and the indecision encountered when faced with a crisis.
Steffan said she looks to theater, especially children’s theater, to teach and learn empathy.

“We have to teach empathy. It is needed now more than ever before," she said. "Theater makes you feel attached to something outside of yourself, so you care about something bigger.”
The cast ranges in age from third-graders through high school seniors. Karlee Albertson plays James. Choosing a girl for the role of James wasn’t a difficult decision for Steffan, who said she looked for the best actor to play the part. And she got it.
“When they auditioned, I said, ‘I don’t care your age or gender.’ I rely on my actors to tell this story so there are more chances for them to be creative.”

During rehearsal, Steffan's cast loves to throw in ad-libs, and sometimes they’re so good, she keeps them.

“I tell them, ‘Make the choice. If I don’t like it, I’ll say so,’” Steffan said.

James and Giant Peach

Peach

James and Giant Peach

James and Giant Peach

"We have to teach empathy. It is needed now more than ever before," said Kelsey Reid Steffan, who's directing "James and the Giant Peach" at NOVA. "Theater makes you feel attached to something outside of yourself, so you care about something bigger.”

JACI WEBB/Gazette photos

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NOVA Center for the Performing Arts  -  2317 Montana Avenue - Billings, MT 59101
PO Box 11
Billings, MT 59103
Phone: 406-591-9535

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