While we make preparations to head into Wonka Weekend this Saturday and Sunday in anticipation of our production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (opening February 13th), we’re also taking this moment to pause and reflect back to the last time the words and fantastic characters of Roald Dahl graced our Dress Up Theatre Stage.
This may be the first time our actors have taken our audience into the famous Chocolate Factory, but, in our history as both the Museum and Theatre – and of course as the Museum & Theatre we are today – we love celebrating and performing Roald Dahl. The museum has hosted readings and events for Dahl’s birthday (September 13th – he’d be 98 if he were still alive!), and his characters have come to life on our stage in two recent occasions.
The Children’s Theatre of Maine performed James and the Giant Peach in the fall of 1992, ten years after Richard George first published the stage adaptation of Dahl’s 1961 children’s book.
And only four years ago (exactly!), we were loading our giant peach into the Dress Up Theatre along with shadow puppet scrims, pieces of clouds, magic beans, and everything else needed for the February 2011 production of James. Catching the eye of some of our community friends, cast members were interviewed on WCSH6’s tv program 207 and in print in the Current, which stated, “For children, the opportunity to act in a play or musical can be transformative.”*
What better stories to help actors take on such a transformative challenge onstage than those of Roald Dahl? His magical, timeless stories are enjoyed by children and adults alike, which is one of the reasons we’re always so happy to revisit them!
Check out some photos from the 2011 production of James and the Giant Peach below! We hope you’ll join us in the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory next week!
(As an added throwback, we have three 2011 Peach cast members returning for the Chocolate Factory: Mae Livermore, who played the Glow Worm, returns as the gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde; Brooks Ewald, who juggled multiple roles including the Captain of the Navy in Peach returns as Veruca’s father Mr. Salt; and Michela Micalizio, who played the Earthworm, is working behind the scenes as a designer in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)
*[Source: Kelly, Michael; Cape, Scarborough, South Portland Actors Among “Peach” Cast; February 16, 2011.]