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Maple Grove Voice

'James and the Giant Peach' a Summer Hit for Yellow Tree Theatre

Jul 22, 2016 06:27AM ● By Doug Erlien

The cast and crew of "James and the Giant Peach'

Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo has produced plays for eight seasons. 

This summer the locally owned theatre company, through their youth Treehouse Productions program, presents "James and the Giant Peach". Producer Kara Wolf, with a background in education and a passion for theatre, along with Director Craig Johnson and the cast and crew raised the curtain for their first summer performance on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.

“Children’s theatre does more than just entertain,” Wolf said. “It encourages understanding, compassion, thoughtfulness, and respect in our young ones.”

In their musical version of the 1961 novel by Roald Dahl, "James and the Giant Peach" tells the story about an orphan (James) who after losing his parents and spending time at an orphanage, must go to live with his evil aunts, Spiker and Sponge.

Photo credit: Carlye G. Felton

Connor Cassidy, who plays James, is no stranger to the stage. He played Gavroche in Maple Grove Senior High School's performance of Les Miserables. The two characters are completely different which made playing James a challenge.

“He’s kind of hard to play because I’m used to playing Gavroche, he’s like a bossy do whatever he wants character,” Cassidy said. “That’s what’s easy for me, so James was kind of hard for me.”

As the story progresses James meets an earthworm, a grasshopper, a ladybug, a spider, and a centipede along the way which through their journey together across the ocean in a giant peach learn about the true meaning of family.

“As a kid we all related to James in some way,” cast member Tim Beekman-Davis (Grasshopper) said. “Now as adults being able to play the adults who nurture him or try to take care of him or protect him and then are shaped by him in the end of the story, it comes really full circle for us as storytellers, too.”

Photo credit: Carlye G. Felton

Erin Hart plays the part of Ladybug and loves the change in scope from her job working with kids.

“Being in the education field during the year and coming and doing this educational program for kids in the summer is really fun,” Erin Hart who played Ladybug said. “I feel like we got to have a different role sort of playing the kid part with a bunch of kids has been rewarding.”

James and the Giant Peach is a show for the entire family with song, humor and an underlying message that resonates with all audience members.

“The show’s about family and love and everybody can relate to that,” Beekman-Davis added.

Yellow Tree Theatre
320 5th Avenue Southeast
Osseo, MN 55369

Ticket Information:

Showtimes: July 20-30, 2016
Wednesday-Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday Matinee at 10 a.m. 

Principle Cast:
Jordan Adelman: Earthworm
Tim Beekman Davis: Grasshopper
Tyler Casey: Ladahlord
Connor Cassidy: James
Leah Eckardt: Centipede
Erin Hart: Ladybug
Andrea Omernik: Spiker
Olivia Schierbeck-Jones: Spider
Alison Rigazio: Sponge

Youth Cast:
Violet Dukowitz
Olivia Eckhardt
Isabelle Epshteyn
Jalyn Jablonski
Jordyn Jablonski
Morgan Jackson
Taylor Jackson
Marcelo Mena
Maggie Moore
Brayden Robinette
Leighton Bimberg
Ellie Fierro
Maria Fierro
Tea Fierro
Sophia Jermstad
Chistina Kolstadt
Molly Lamb
Abbi Nelson
Samarah Smith
Marlee Swanson
Winter Peterson

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