By Sue Suchyta
Satisfy your appetite for theater by sampling “James and the Giant Peach” at 7 p.m. April 1, 2, 8 and 9 at Southgate Community Players Corner Playhouse, 12671 Dix-Toledo Road in Southgate.
The youth production, directed by Brad Hardecki of Lincoln Park, is based on the book by Roald Dahl and adapted for the stage by David Wood.
James, an orphan, escapes from his cruel relatives to live with his magical insect friends in a giant peach, launching an amazing adventure.
Blake Robinson, 11, of Southgate leads the cast as James, with supporting cast members Brecken Millner, 15, of Allen Park as the Centipede; Connor Moran, 11, of Melvindale as the Earthworm; Madeline Baker, 12, of Wyandotte as Miss Spider; and Youssef Fadel, 11, of Brownstown Township as the Grasshopper.
Other cast members include Logan Crank, 11, of Allen Park as Mr. Trotter and the Captain; Adriana James, 13, of Lincoln Park as Sponge; Southgate residents Rianna Rasizzi, 10, as Mrs. Trotter and Sergio Krzesowiak, 12, as the old man and the first officer; and Paityn Thibeau, 10, of Trenton as the second officer.
The cast also includes Olivia Williams, 11, of Brownstown Township as the TV reporter; Alex Beverly, 12, of Detroit as the Ladybug; and Kiera Woodman, 15, of Rockwood as Spiker.
Hardecki, who was eager to direct a youth theater production, said he grew up reading Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” and repeatedly watched the movie.
“(Dahl) brings a sense of realness to stories with legitimate issues that go on in people’s lives,” Hardecki said. “James is an orphan. He is sent to live with his terrible aunts who abuse him, and the only magic in this show is found with imagination.”
Robinson said he enjoying playing James, his first lead role.
“He always has the courage to make things right,” Robinson said. “He always has faith in not only himself but the other characters, even in the Earthworm, even though he is always miserable.”
Moran, who plays the Earthworm, said he likes the sensation of becoming a different person on stage.
“I like my lines because I am always miserable. It’s fun,” Moran said. “(The play) is really short, funny and dramatic.”
Baker said the play isn’t overly long, and will appeal to all ages.
“There’s a little bit of child in everybody who would enjoy seeing this,” Baker said.
Fadel said the show’s relatively quick run time will appeal to audiences as well as the story itself.
“It’s a really good show,” Fadel said. “It’s funny, it’s nice, and it’s just a great show to come to for the whole family.”
Millner said when his friends ask if the play is like the movie, he said it is, but better.
“It’s near the movie but shows are always better, more live,” Millner said.
ALLEN PARK’S OUTVISIBLE THEATRE COMPANY AUDITIONS FOR ‘GOD MEETS DOG’
Allen Park’s newly formed Outvisible Theatre Company will hold auditions for Bert Royal’s “God Meets Dog: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” in scheduled, 5-minutes slots starting at 3 p.m. April 17 at the playhouse, 18614 Ecorse Road.
To schedule an audition, contact executive director Adriane Galea at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, phone number and preferred time.
Those auditioning will fill out an online form and bring a headshot and resume, and two contrasting contemporary monologues, not to exceed three minutes total.
The show calls for adults who can convincingly play high school age characters. Because of the mature nature of the production, actors age 16 and 17 will be considered only with parent permission.
All ethnicities are welcome to audition. All roles will be compensated on a profit-sharing basis.
Callbacks are 7 p.m. April 18, with performances at 8 p.m. June 17, 18, 24 and 25, and 3 p.m. June 26.
The story is loosely based on extrapolated teen versions of the Peanuts characters.
When CB’s (Charlie Brown’s) dog dies of rabies, he begins to question the existence of an afterlife. His best friend Van (Linus) is too high on pot to help him, and his sister (Sally) changes personalities – including Goth, gangsta’ bitch and hippie – on an ongoing basis.
CB’s former girlfriend (Lucy) has been institutionalized for her pyromania, and he is confused about his sexual feelings for Beethoven (Schroeder).
His friends Tricia (Peppermint Patty) and Marcy (Marcie) are too busy partying to help him. Matt (Pigpen) is a handsome, cocky, popular, germophobe jock.
When CB meets an artistic teen who has been the target of teen bullies, CB initiates a friendship that will push the limits of teen angst.
The show deals with drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and sexual identity, and travels to a final scene that is both haunting and hopeful.
For more information, go to outvisibletheatre.com.
DEARBORN ACTOR IN PLANET ANT IMPROV SHOW
Sean McGettigan of Dearborn will perform in the ensemble of “Antenna,” a collection of live sketch comedy and video segments opening April 1 at Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff in Hamtramck.
Directed by Mike McGettigan of Hamtramck, the show also features Lauren Bickers of Hamtramck, Joe Hingelberg of Troy, Michael Hovitch of Ferndale and Travis Pelto of Royal Oak.
Show times are 8 p.m. April 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23, and 2 p.m. April 10 and 17 at the theater.
Tickets range from $10 to $20, and are available online at planetant.com.
TONY AWARD-NOMINATED MUSICAL ‘IF/THEN’ AT FISHER
The 2014 Tony Award-nominated musical for best original score “If/Then” arrives at the Fisher March 29 for a two-week run.
With music by Tom Kitt, and music and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, the new musical, set in New York City, follows the two possible paths Elizabeth’s life may have taken – as Liz and Beth – exploring the results of the choices people make and the hope present in each new day.
The show features Jackie Burns as Elizabeth, who understudied Idina Menzel on Broadway, and Anthony Rapp as Lucas, best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in “Rent.”
Tamyra Gray, season one “American Idol” finalist, plays the role of Kate.
For tickets and more information, call 313-872-1000 or go to Broadwayindetroit.com. Tickets are also available through Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787 or at ticketmaster.com.