James and the Giant Peach is based on Roald Dahl's popular children's novel of the same name. Dahl wrote the novel in 1961. The original first edition, published by Alfred Knopf, featured illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert.
James and the Giant Peach debuted at Goodspeed Musical's Norma Terris Theatre in 2010. The production ran from October 21 November 21. This production was directed by Graciela Daniele and choreographed by Michael Tracy and the Connecticut-based dance troupe, Pilobolus.
The cast included Justin Lawrence Hall (James), Ruth Gottschall (Spiker), Denny Dillon (Sponge), and Steve Rosen (Marvo the Magician). The ensembe included Nick Gaswirth (Centipede), Jessica Hershberg, Chelsea Kromback (Mrs. Trotter/ Ladybug), Destan Owens (Earthworm), Marissa Lindsay Palley, Nicholas Park, Jim Stanek (Mr. Trotter/Green Grasshopper), Kate Wetherhead and Minami Yusui. The production also featured Pilobolus dancers: Otis Cook, Edwin Olvera, Roberto Olvera, Annika Sheaff, Holly Shunky and Derek Stratton.
The piece was then reworked and opened in Seattle in 2013. The new version featured the addition and subtraction of songs, as well as a new framing device. Pilobolus was no longer attached when the show moved to Seattle.
James and the Giant Peach ran at Seattle Children's Theatre from November 21, 2013, January 12, 2014. The cast included Mike Spee as James, Rich Gray as Centipede, Heath Saunders as Earthworm, Greg McCormick Allen as Grasshopper, Kendra Kassebaum as Ladybug, Diana Huey as Spider, Julie Briskman as Sponge, Jayne Muirhead as Spiker; with Vickielee Wohlbach, Ian Lindsay and Auston James.
- The novel, James and the Giant Peach, was also adapted to film. Produced in conjunction with Disney, it was directed by Henry Selick and produced by Denise Di Novi and Tim Burton. It was released on April 12, 1996.
- Timothy Allen McDonald, bookwriter for James and the Giant Peach, is a noted playwright. He has also adapted Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the stage in a piece called Willy Wonka.
- James and the Giant Peach songwriting team, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, were nominated for a Tony Award in 2013 for their score of A Christmas Story.
- Roald Dahl's children's books are considered modern classics. His other works include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG.
- A James and the Giant Peach official cast album was recorded in May 2014. In anticipation of that recording, the authors launched a nationwide search to cast a young actor as James, inviting open submissions.