By Tom Ganser
Whitewater is well represented in the upcoming Janesville Performing Arts Center Kids production of “James and the Giant Peach, Jr.,” at the JPAC Center Aug. 5-7 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 8 at 2 p.m.
Taking to the stage are Whitewater Unified School District actors Anderson Waelchli, Marco Wence, and Ella Willman. Jim McCulloch directs the play and Lori Heidenreich adds her talents as musical director and choreographer. 2021 WHS graduate Carter Waelchli serves as production assistant.
Based on Roald Dahl’s enduring and popular novel, the play focuses on a boy who befriends a colony of eccentric giant bugs who live inside a gigantic peach, and their travels around the world,
Based on one of Roald Dahl’s most poignantly quirky stories, “James and the Giant Peach JR.is a new take on this “masterpeach” of a tale. Featuring a wickedly tuneful score and a witty and charming book, this adventurous musical about courage and self-discovery is destined to be a classic.
When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that grows a tremendous peach, rolls into the ocean and launches a journey of enormous proportions. James befriends a collection of singing insects that ride the giant piece of fruit across the ocean, facing hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements along the way.
The delightful play explores themes of found family, standing up to cruel people, and the frightening but exciting period of childhood. It is filled with surreal visuals and is unflinching in its depictions of childhood peril, but brings its long-suffering child protagonist a hard-earned happy ending.
For more information about the play or to order tickets, visit JanesvillePAC.org or call (608) 758-0297. Reservations are required. JPAC is located in the former Janesville High School/Marshall Junior High School Building at 408 S. Main Street in Janesville.