Press - James and the Giant Peach

adapted for the stage by David Wood
based on the book by Roald Dahl

February 7-23, 2014
Theatre for Young Audiences - Julianne Argyros Stage

A rhinoceros ate the parents of James Henry Trotter. That was bad enough. Then James was sent to live with his awful aunts. But all is not lost! A giant peach magically appears on the backyard, and James finds a secret way inside. He makes his escape with some of the greatest pals a kid can have—six very funny but fractious bugs, who must learn how to get along as they cross the Atlantic to their new home in Central Park.


Click on photos for 300 dpi versions.


South Coast Repertory's 2014 Theatre for Young Audiences production of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.


Wyatt Fenner and Richard Doyle in the Theatre for Young Audiences production of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.


Wyatt Fenner, Derek Manson and Amelia White in SCR's Theatre for Young Audiences production of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.


Wyatt Fenner and Richard Doyle in SCR's 2014 Theatre for Young Audiences production of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.


South Coast Repertory's 2014 Theatre for Young Audiences production of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.


Amelia White, Jennifer Parsons and Derek Manson in Theatre for Young Audiences production of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.



Amelia White, Wyatt Fenner and Derek Manson in the Theatre for Young Audiences production of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.


Amelia White, Wyatt Fenner and Derek Manson in the Theatre for Young Audiences production of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.

Playwright Bios

Roald Dahl (author) was one of the greatest storytellers of all time. He was born in Llanduff, South Wales, in 1916, and educated in English boarding schools. When World War II broke out, he joined the RAF as a fighter pilot and received terrible injuries; he almost died in a plane crash in 1942. It was following this “monumental bash on the head” and a meeting with C. S. Forester (author of the famous Captain Horatio Hornblower stories) that Roald Dahl's writing career began, with articles for magazines such as The New Yorker. He wrote successful novellas and short stories for adults, such as Tales of the Unexpected, before concentrating on his marvelous children's stories. The first of these, James and the Giant Peach, in 1960, was followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and an unbroken string of hugely successful, best-selling titles. Dahl worked from a tiny hut in the pale orchard of the Georgian-style house in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, which he shared with his wife, Liccy. He was always brimming with new ideas and his many books continue to bring enormous enjoyment to millions of children and their parents throughout the world. Dahl died on Nov. 23, 1990.

Since 1967, playwright David Wood has written approximately 60 plays for children. He says it is still a real joy and a real challenge and it never gets easier! His plays are usually written for professional adult actors to perform in theatres for audiences of children, both original plays and adaptations of popular books, like Roald Dahl’s  James and the Giant Peach. “My aims haven’t changed: I still want to use the magic of theatre—the lighting, the sound, the scenery, the costumes, the music, the movement—to provide a unique event. I want to trigger your imagination, to make you laugh (and sometimes cry) while involving you in a really good story.” He invites you to visit his website— 

Learn about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.

Richard Doyle
Richard Doyle as Earthworm, Old Man. For a young boy who started out with a serious stutter and could not say my own name, I sure picked a weird job. When I was little my family called me “Ricky,” so I was Ricky Doyle. However, I couldn’t pronounce it and instead I would say “my name Icky Doe;” but I grew out of that. Today I go by the name Richard Doyle. I can say that now. Since I was a teenager I have been a professional actor. In fact, SCR and I celebrate our 50th season together this year! I have done many plays here—playing hundreds of characters in all kinds of stories for young people and adults. But this is the first time I have played an “earthworm.” I have also done TV series ("Cheers"), films (Air Force One), commercials (Mighty Dog, Ford), cartoon series ("Ben 10", "Justice League"), animated features (Lego: Clutch Powers, as Hogar the Troll) and hundreds of characters in CD ROM games (Metal Gear Solid, as Big Boss). I am also the live show narrator of the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. I will tell this year’s story “The Art Detective” all summer long. Come see it! I just want to add that I am very glad you have joined us today. This is my favorite place of all to tell stories. Hope you enjoy this one. Have fun!

Wyatt Fenner
Wyatt Fenner as James. I'm so happy to be back at SCR in a play based on one of my favorite books! I have loved storytelling and theatre ever since I was growing up in Washington, D.C., and I began taking acting classes when I was in the second grade. I have played many characters from well-known stories, including the Sheriff of Nottingham, Mowgli, Linus and—one of my very first and favorite parts—the back end of the cow, who was sold for some magic beans. Can you remember which stories those characters are from? I studied theatre at the University of Southern California, and since then I have also performed in plays by William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, Joe Orton, Ben Jonson and many more, and have appeared on two detective TV series, "Bones" and "Veronica Mars." Here at SCR, your parents may have seen me as the spoiled Bentley Summerhays in Misalliance and as Elder Thomas in The Whale. I hope you enjoy our play!

Derek Manson
Derek Mason as Centipede, Aunt Spiker. I am super excited to be back at South Coast Repertory for James and the Giant Peach! You might have seen me in 2012 wearing a tiger tail and riding a skateboard as "Steve" in the world premiere musical Jane of the Jungle right here on the Argyros Stage. And speaking of giant peaches, it just so happens that I grew up in the "Peach State": Georgia! I now live in Hollywood, and have performed on stage and television in New York City, Chicago and Atlanta. Enjoy the show, and make sure you check out the book James is based on (if you haven't already, of course)! Roald Dahl was one of my favorite authors growing up, and continues to be so today.

Jennifer Parsons
Jennifer Parsons as Miss Spider. I have learned that there are all kinds of families. Sometimes with mutual respect, common goals, teamwork and sacrifice affection grows and a human being and five over-sized bugs become a family! I once played the Ladybug in a production of this very same play. Because the cast worked so hard and shared so many things in that time, even after the show was over, we all remained fast friends. A couple of those bugs even came to my wedding! I have been in several Theatre for Young Audiences shows here at SCR: Anastasia Krupnik, The Borrowers, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Bunnicula, James and the Giant Peach, The Only Child, Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business, The BFG(Big Friendly Giant) and The Brand New Kid. You may have seen me as Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol. I’ve also appeared in many other plays, movies and TV shows. Oh, and I just happen to be married to the Earthworm (Richard Doyle)!

Geoffrey Wade
Geoffrey Wade as Old-Green-Grasshopper. You may have seen me last year here at SCR when I played Anastasia Krupnik’s Dad. In that play I was a teacher; let me tell you that off-stage, I really do like teaching. Now I’m a grasshopper! And it’s true that another thing I really like to do off-stage is working in my garden where grasshoppers live! I’ve acted in theatres all over the country and I’ve played more than 100 different characters, but I never got to be a bug before! On television, I usually play doctors, like when I was on "Scrubs," or lawyers on "Num3ers" and "Law & Order," or maybe a general like I was on "NCIS." But you know what? Even though working on TV is cool, being on stage here is much more fun because we get to hear you laugh! There’s nowhere I’d rather be today than right here bringing you a story as sweet as a peach. Hope you enjoy it!

Amelia White
Amelia White as Ladybug, Aunt Sponge. Hello, my name is Amelia White and I was born in Nottingham, England—where Robin Hood comes from! I have been a stage actress since I was a teenager, and I went to college in Nottingham and then in London to learn all the different ways to enjoy being on stage. I'm so glad to be in another play at SCR. In the past I have been seen in lots of plays here, like The Importance of Being Earnest, The Heiress and Misalliance. Now I get to play TWO people in the amazing James and the Giant Peach by British author Roald Dahl. I hope you enjoy it!!
Creative Team
Casey Stangl (Director). When Casey was in first grade, she studied dance and got to be on TV! This was in Iowa, on “Bill Riley’s Talent Search.” Each week kids performed on the show, and if you won, you got $25 and a chance to compete at the Iowa State Fair. Casey made it to the State Fair several years in a row and loved watching all the talented kids. Even then, she knew that, although she loved singing and dancing, she didn’t really want to be a performer. She liked seeing how everything got put together and imagining whole shows in her head. So she became a director. That means she chooses who will be in the play, works with designers to help create the sets and costumes and helps the actors create their characters. She likes being the person out front, taking it all in and knowing that she helped to make it happen.

Deborah Wicks La Puma (Musical Director) is a composer and music director who loves working at South Coast Repertory, where she has been music director for The Emperor's New Clothes, The Brand New Kid, A Year with Frog and Toad, Imagine and the one-woman-band for The Only Child. Last year SCR even premiered a show that she wrote the music for called Jane of the Jungle. She has been working on shows for kids and grown-ups for nearly 20 years all around the country, but her favorite thing to do is write music, which she has done for many new family shows, including Elephant and Piggie: We are in a Play! at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; Einstein Is a Dummy at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Ga.; and Ferdinand the Bull at Imagination Stage, Md. She has been playing piano, singing and writing songs since she was nine, and studied music at Stanford University and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is the proud mom of three daughters—Rosie, Julia and Cecilia—who love to eat peaches! Check out her website:

Francois-Pierre Cóuture (Set Designer). In 2006, Francois-Pierre moved from Montréal (that’s right, that is Canada) to Los Angeles to complete his master’s degree in scenic and lighting design at UCLA. This redhead loves to imagine and make tiny models of giant sets so actors can play with them. He also likes to hear the reaction of the audience when they discover the stage for the first time. Aside from imagining how to make giant peaches revolve on the stage at SCR—and at other theaters like Geffen Playhouse or Theatre @ Boston Court—he teaches young and bright students at East Los Angeles College, Santa Barbara City College and Pepperdine University. If you want to know more about what he likes (and what he doesn't like, such as whiny people, routine and raw onions) you can visit him at

Angela Balogh Calin (Costume Designer) is very excited to be back at SCR where she has designed costumes and/or sets for nine Theatre for Young Audiences shows and more than 35 other productions, including The Whale, The Trip to Bountiful, Circle Mirror Transformation, Crimes of the Heart and Ordinary Days. She also designed sets and costumes for more than 60 productions for companies including Denver Center Theatre Company, A Noise Within Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory, The Old Globe, Pasadena Playhouse, Georgia Shakespeare and other local theatres in the U.S. and in her native Romania. She has worked extensively in film and television in the U.S. and Romania, with design credits with I.R.S. Media, Cannon Films, PBS, Full Moon Entertainment and Romanian Films. She graduated with an MFA in set and costume design from the Academy of Arts in Bucharest.

Tom Ruzika (Lighting Designer) first started working with light at age 15 and has enjoyed being a lighting designer at SCR for more than 38 years. For 34 of those years, he has designed lighting for A Christmas Carol with his wife, Donna Ruzika, who has also designed many shows for SCR. Tom has designed the lighting for more than 90 SCR productions. He also has designed for Broadway shows and has worked in seven different countries. His lighting designs have been seen at many theme parks, including Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. Tom loved playing the pipe organ and piano when he was young, and now he designs lighting as if he were creating beautiful music. He loves teaching young students the art and craft of lighting design. If you ever want to know more about light and how a lighting designer works, visit

Peter Bayne (Sound Designer) is a composer and sound designer who hails from Boston and San Francisco. He has performed and created music since he was very young, first as a singer then as a pianist and composer through high school in San Francisco, college at Vassar College in New York and his graduate school at Brandeis University in Boston. He has written music for chamber ensembles, orchestras, video art, remixes and dance music, hip-hop, indie rock, jazz, films, commercials, cartoons, folk bands, choirs, homemade electronics, whistlers, sculptures, cop cars, dunes, trash cans and, of course, theatre. Peter has composed scores for and designed plays at The Fountain Theatre, The Antaeus Company, The Colony Theatre Company, Rogue Machine Theatre, The Elephant and Theatre of Note, among others in Los Angeles. His other regional theatre credits include shows with the American Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Actors Shakespeare Project, Company One, Lyric and Portland Playhouse, among others.

Jennifer Sherman (Stage Manager) was born and raised in Southern California and has a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has worked on many shows at SCR; some of her favorites include Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business and A Year with Frog and Toad. She spent time working at Disneyland with the princesses and at Knott’s Berry Farm with Snoopy. One of her favorite books as a little girl was James and the Giant Peach, so she is very excited to be part of this production. She is thrilled to be back at SCR and hopes you enjoy the show!