Porchlight Players present ‘James and the Giant Peach’ on June 16 | VailDaily.com

Porchlight Players present ‘James and the Giant Peach’ on June 16

Jaden Gonzalez (Ladalord) performs a scene from "James and the Giant Peach" on Tuesday, June 6, in Gypusm.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com |

If you go …

What: Porchlight Players present “James and the Giant Peach.”

When: Friday, June 16, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Lundgren Theater, Gypsum.

Cost: Free.

More information: Visit http://www.porchlightplayers.com.

things will be pretty keen at the Lundgren Theater in Gypsum on Friday when the children enrolled in the annual Porchlight Players Summer Theater Camp stage their production of “James and the Giant Peach.”

This week marks the 12th anniversary of the camp, organized by Porchlight Players stalwart Ann Olin.

Olin said the camp was inspired by the need for a youth performing arts program that would be affordable and convenient for downvalley families. The performers are kids entering fourth through ninth grades.

“Every year, I am amazed at the incredible production we do in just three short weeks of camp,” Olin said. “The energy and commitment the kids bring to performing is awesome.”

From learning performing terms such as up stage and down stage to demonstrating composure during distraction, Olin said the campgoers come out of their three-week experience with a wealth of new skills.

“I remember two years ago when the sprinklers went off on the crowd in the middle of ‘Peter Pan,’ and the kids never batted an eye, they just kept going,” she said. “I was so proud of their poise.”

Bought in

The children themselves, or rather the children themselves from 2016, selected this year’s production.

“Every year I choose three or four shows we could do, and at the cast party the kids get to vote on which show to do the next summer,” Olin said.

Through that process, the kids chose “James and the Giant Peach.” It’s been a great decision, according to Olin.

“The kids are very enthusiastic about the show. It has a very involved ensemble that is in almost every scene, so I had to split the ensemble into two groups just so they would have time to change costumes,” she said. “Each ensemble has at least three costume changes and show also has puppets some of them operate during the show.”

But what is a musical without some catchy tunes? Olin said “James and the Giant Peach” delivers on that level.

“There are so many great songs it’s hard to choose just one, but a few favorites are ‘Shake It Up,’ ‘Plump and Juicy,’ and ‘There’s Money on That Tree,’ she said.

Graduates return

While Olin acts as camp and production director, she can’t wrangle all of those children alone.

“I also am so thankful to my assistant directors Natalie Marner and Jack Helmering, both of whom are graduates of theater camp and have come back for several years to help out,” Olin said.

She also thanked volunteers Yarmony Bellows and Olivia Russell (also a graduate of camp) for choosing to spend part of their summer mentoring younger children and sharing their love of theater with them.

The cast will perform a full dress rehearsal at 1 p.m. on Friday in preparation for their 6:30 p.m. performance. Area residents are welcome to both shows.

“Bring a picnic and blanket and enjoy a beautiful evening of outdoor theater with us,” Olin said.

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