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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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The cast of "Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach." The cast of "Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach."

SDSU's Take on a Classic: "Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach"

The musical runs April 26 through May 3 in the Don Powell Theatre.
By Elizabeth Allison

“Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach,” a musical theatre production based on the classic children’s novel, premieres at San Diego State University on Friday, April 26. 
Directed by Stephen Brotebeck, the production features words and music by the Tony and Academy Award-winning songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
“Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach” is presented by the School of Theatre, Television and Film through May 3 in SDSU’s Don Powell Theatre. Tickets are available at

Full of magic

The production is a collaboration between students and faculty in several programs. It features a cast of undergraduate students alongside graduate students earning Master of Fine Arts degrees in musical theatre; and a design team comprised of undergraduate students majoring in sound design alongside graduate students earning their Masters of Fine Arts in design technology: lighting, costume design, projection design and scenic design. 
Audiences can expect to experience a world of colorful and friendly insects, a journey across the sea and a spectacularly giant peach created by a design team of SDSU students.  
“This production best exemplifies the spirit of collaboration within the School of Theatre, Television, and Film between the two MFA programs and the undergraduate students,” said Brotebeck, an associate professor of musical theatre. “It is one of my great joys as a professor to be able to work alongside such talented students.”
“Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach” has been in rehearsals since the beginning of March. It features a 28-piece orchestra with students from the SDSU School of Music and Dance. The large scale of the production  has presented several challenges, all of which Brotebeck believes his students have risen to meet. 
“For the actors, diving into the world of one of the most renowned children’s books and bringing these iconic characters to life has been both exciting and challenging. Especially with the insects, finding the way that they speak and move has been a ton of fun.
“As for the design team, I think the biggest challenge was to create the fantastical world that we see through the eyes of James,” Brotebeck added. “Through a massive amount of collaboration and imagination, this phenomenal team has created a world that will be a delight to all audiences.”
Emma Chassey, a senior majoring in theatre arts will play the titular role of James.
“We are bringing truth and meaningful life lessons to this whimsical classic along with beautiful visuals and incredible songs,” said Chassey. “We have a talented cast, an incredible orchestra, colorful costumes, beautiful lighting and projections, handmade puppets, and a truly giant peach.”  

Where and When

“Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach” will run April 26 – May 3 at the SDSU Don Powell Theatre. Productions will begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday, with 2:00 p.m. matinee performances on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28. 
Tickets are $20 for general admission, $17 for seniors, military, and students, and $10 for children 12 and under.
For tickets, directions, and parking information, visit For more information about the many other Arts Alive SDSU performances, concerts, and exhibitions, visit