James and the Giant Peach

February 13 - March 1, 2015
Mussetter-Struble Theater | 1949 Campus Drive

Book by Timothy Allen McDonald
Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Based on the book by Roald Dahl
Directed by Rives Collins

When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion which results in a tremendous peach - and launches a journey of enormous proportions. Suddenly, James finds himself in the center of the gigantic peach among human-sized insects with equally oversized personalities, but after it falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean, the group faces hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements. Thanks to James' quick wit and creative thinking, the residents learn to live and work together as a family in this new musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved tale of adventure and magic directed by Northwestern faculty member Rives Collins (The Hundred Dresses).

Rives Collins (Director) earned his MFA in Child Drama from Arizona State University, Rives Collins has taught at Northwestern for over 25 years. Selected Wirtz Center credits: THE HUNDRED DRESSES, THE BLUEST EYE, THE SECRET GARDEN, HOW CAN YOU RUN WITH A SHELL ON YOUR BACK?, THE ORPHAN TRAIN, LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE, CHILDREN OF EDEN, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, AND THEN THEY CAME FOR ME: REMEMBERING THE WORLD OF ANNE FRANK, and INTO THE WOODS. Upcoming: THE LARAMIE PROJECT, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Galbut Outstanding Faculty Award, and he directed the world premiere of SPARK at Adventure Stage Chicago where he subsequently became an Associate Artist. As a past president of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, he works with an international community of artists, educators, and scholars to champion the cause of drama and theatre in the lives of young people.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Music and Lyrics) are the Tony-nominated songwriters of the Broadway musical A CHRISTMAS STORY. In addition to the Best Score nomination, A CHRISTMAS STORY also received Tony nominations for Best Musical and Best Book. The holiday musical was named one of the Top 10 Shows of 2012 by Time magazine, shared recognition as the #1 Musical of 2012 in USA Today and received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical. Benj and Justin’s score for the show also received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Music. Benj & Justin are also the composers behind the Off-Broadway musical DOGFIGHT, a Best New Musical nominee for the Drama League, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards. Benj and Justin also received an Outer Critics Circle Best Score nomination for their work on the show. As television songwriters, their original songs were featured on Season 2 of NBC’s Smash, and have risen to the Top 25 on the iTunes Pop Charts. Other theatrical works include DUCK FOR PRESIDENT and IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PANCAKE (Theatreworks USA). Their other musical work for TV can be seen on Sesame Street and Johnny & the Sprites (Disney TV series). Performances of their songs have been featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The View, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, VH1 Morning Buzz, The Rosie Show, Fox & Friends, and more. Benj & Justin are the recipients of the 2011 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2011 Sundance Institute Fellowship, the 2011 ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, the 2011 ASCAP Songwriters Fellowship Award, and a 2007-2008 Dramatists Guild Fellowship. They are the youngest recipients of the Jonathan Larson Award (2007) in the foundation’s history. They have participated in ASCAP’s Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project and were named one of Dramatist Magazine’s “50 to Watch” in contemporary theatre.

Danica Rosengren (Assistant Director/Puppet Sequence Director) is ecstatic to be a part of the James family! She is a junior Theatre and Psychology double major, and also is an Education Director for Purple Crayon Players. Last year, she directed With Two Wings on campus, has appeared in a variety of Northwestern shows, and is currently props designing a show specifically created for children on the autism spectrum, In The Game.

Sarah Joonhee Park Watkins (Scenic Design) is a freelance scenic designer and photographer in Chicago. Recent design credits include: I & You (Redtwist Theatre), Women Beware Women (Two Pence), Orville & Wilbur Did It (The New Colony). Her work has also been seen with companies Step Up Productions, The Side Project, The Music Theatre Company, Haven Theatre and at the Steppenwolf Garage. Her design work was exhibited at the 2012 Prague Quadrennial in the Czech Republic. Sarah teaches design courses at Northwestern University. Training:  MFA in Stage Design for Scenic Design (Northwestern University); BA in Theatre and Studio Art (Hope College).

Veronica Johnson (Costume Designer) feels so lucky to be part of the team for James and the Giant Peach!  She is a junior Theatre and Art History major in the Costume Design module.   This past fall, Veronica did an internship in Paris for La Comédie Française in their costume department . Some costume design credits include: Imagine U’s Flat Stanley, Man of La Mancha, the 72nd Annual Dolphin Show: Shrek THE MUSICAL, and The Lilliput Troupe.  Her next project will be assisting The Grapes of Wrath and costume designing The Who’s Tommy.

Pauline Moll (Lighting Designer) is a freshman Theatre major. This is her second time light designing in the Mussetter-Struble Theater, a simple space for which she has developed a strong affinity. She loved the story of James and the Giant Peach well as a child; she feels especially blessed to rediscover its magic with such a talented cast and team. She invites you to open your heart to James’s story and let your imagination soar.

Cecilia Pappalardo (Sound Designer) is a sophomore Theatre major and Sound Design minor. Her other notable sound design credits at Northwestern include Imagine U’s Charlotte’s Web and WAVE production’s The FantastiCks.