“James and the Giant Peach” is a play that is about a giant peach. After James Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops a little bit of a potion on the old peach tree, and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends — Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more.
The company Phamaly created a play version of Roald Dahl’s book. To act in Phamaly plays you must have a disability. Phamaly Theatre Company (formerly known as The Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League) produces professional scale plays and musicals year-round throughout the Denver Metro region, cast entirely of performers with disabilities across the spectrum (physical, cognitive, and emotional).
Phamaly was formed in 1989 when five students of the Boettcher School in Denver grew frustrated with the lack of theatrical opportunities for people living with disabilities. They decided to create a theatre company that would provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to perform. Four of these five founding members remain active as actors in productions today (Kevin Ahl, Kathleen Traylor, Gregg Vigil, and Teri Westerman).
There were 10 actors and 21 total people on the crew of this play. They practiced 4 times a week! They started rehearsing on September 11th and had just two weeks to memorize lines before digging into the complicated stuff. This is the cast list and their disabilities:
James – Maria Ciobanu – Attention Deficit Disorder
Ladahlord – Jaime Lewis – polio
Spiker – Shannon Sauer – Fragile X syndrome
Sponge – Linda Wirth – Retinitis Pigmentosa
Earthworm – Megan McGuire – congenital limb loss & Asperger’s Syndrome
Centipede – Stewart Caswell – Cerebral Palsy
Ladybug – Amber Marsh – Anxiety and Depression
Grasshopper – Aryk Greenawalt – Autism
Spider – Kirsten Lang – Anxiety and Depression
Understudy – Jacob Elledge – Autism & Depression
On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate this play a 9 because of humor, presentation, and sound. I recommend attending Phamaly performances.
Here’s where you can find a schedule of upcoming presentations of “James and the Giant Peach”: http://www.phamaly.org/upcoming-events