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James and The Giant Peach Jr. Review

By: Mary Kerr/Social Media Director

From the moment the curtains opened, the audience knew that this show would add to the history of successful performances at Blue Ridge. November 17th, 18th and 19th, Blue Ridge middle school students broke a leg at their long awaited performance of James and The Giant Peach Jr. The middle schoolers have prepared for this show for many months after school. High school and middle school chorus teacher, Ms. Zakarauskas led the show to success with her outstanding directing, with the help of many others.

The curtain opening for the first showing of James and The Giant Peach Jr. Photo by: Mary Kerr

First, as the show began, it was very evident that every member of the cast and chorus seemed extremely comfortable on stage. If there were any nerves, the audience could not tell! This was very impressive considering this was a middle school show and that this was the first time that some of these students had performed. Foxlynn King, who played Spiker and Tiffani Henke, who played Sponge exhibited a high level of comfort and confidence on stage. These young actresses have a long history of performing, this being the seventh performance for both of them. The characters they played had bright and obnoxious personalities, and I think these girls did an excellent job playing these roles and not showing any nervousness or stress.

Foxlynn King as Spiker (left) and Tiffani Henke as Sponge (right). Photo by: Mary Kerr

Along with relaxation shown on stage, the skill level of the actors and actresses was very impressive. The voices of these young students were very good, with Clara Allen’s voice sticking out to me. Clara who is an eighth grader had a large role in her sixth show as playing the part of Ladybug. Clara had a solo part in the scene “Everywhere That You Are” and her voice sounded very mature and beautiful. Along with Clara, every other member of the cast’s and chorus’ voices blended together nicely. The only flaw I heard in the dialogue and singing was the breathing into the microphones. Throughout the show I heard a loud rustling noise through the speakers. I think that learning how to control your breathing takes a lot of time to master, and that with time these young actresses and actors will improve on this skill.

In addition, the choreography the students performed was fun and fit the music well. It was evident that the students had worked hard during their rehearsals because they danced on the beat and worked together during dancing parts. Director, Ms. Zakarauskas and her co-directors, Wesley Wojtkowski, Kyra Powell, Morgan Mansfield, Tori Auckland, and Isabelle Edwards must have worked very hard to make sure everything went smoothly. Also, the lighting and sound was executed excellently due to the high school members, Daniel Tierney, Logan Mann and Tony Dissinger.

Members of the cast and chorus dancing in unison. Photo by: Mary Kerr

Behind the scenes, many adults worked very hard to make the costumes and sets seen throughout the show were up to par. Katie Edwards specialized in Costume/Prop Design with the help of Tori Auckland, Ryan Glatzel, Breanna Derrick, Carling Renwick, and Amy Auckland. Katie did an excellent job making sure each character’s appearance matched their role. The sets were very impressive due to the set builders and designers, John Zakarauskas, Paul Sargent, Bryan Witbeck and Norm Button. Other artistic aspects such as sharks and the rhino brought the show to life, credited to Blue Ridge art teacher Ms. Sarrah Camburn the Blue Ridge Art Department. All of these hard working people brought the show to life, and completed the performance with the making of the giant peach!

The cast performing with the giant peach. Photo by: Mary Kerr

In conclusion, this show was very well done. I was very impressed by all aspects, from the music and sound to the dancing. This performance was very enjoyable to watch and I think every member of it worked very hard and it showed on stage. Congratulations to the Blue Ridge Theater Department for another fantastic show, bravo!


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