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Giant Peach at the Point features local talent

By Sandy Jennings BCC Contributor

Sandy Jennings photo
Bandera cast members Centipede (Corey Jennings), Aunt Sponge (Roslyn Houghton), Earthworm (Michaela Turner) and Ladybug (Emily Huber).

Nestled in the heart of the hill country, just feet from the tranquil Medina River, the historical Smith-Ritch Point Theatre welcomes another summer blockbuster to its playlist. James and the Giant Peach, adapted for the stage by David Wood and from the book by Roald Dahl, opened this past weekend and will run, July 16-18 and July 23-25, with an 8:30pm curtain.
Directed by Chris Huber with assistance from Emily Huber, this fantastical tale of a boy, his insect friends, and their amazing journey across the ocean on a giant peach of fruit, captures the imagination of audience members with spirited musical numbers, creative Scenic Design by Jeff Cunningham, and captivating Costume Design by Gale Givens.
When James (played by Ethan Van Fossen) is sent by his conniving Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker (played by Rosalyn Houghton and Jessica Roberts respectively) to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion which results in a tremendous peach and launches a journey of enormous proportions.
James finds himself in the center of the gigantic peach among human-sized insects with equally oversized personalities. Bandera is home to three of these insects. BHS Theatre teacher Emily Huber plays the cute, spunky LadyBug and is joined by two of her theatre students Michaela Turner as the sight-impaired, somewhat pessimistic Earthworm, and Corey Jennings as the 'hundred-footed" dancing and singing Centipede.
"After spending the past years being directed by Mrs. Huber, it's definitely fun to be on stage with her--it gives you a whole new perspective," Turner said. Turner, who will be attending Texas State University majoring in Theatre Production and Design this fall, is making her debut at The Point.
The Bandera hometown insects are joined on stage by Old Green Grasshopper (Brandon Cunningham), Miss Spider (Prari Blair), Old Man/Sea Captain (Sharon Kahn), Tour Guide/Camera Man/Rhino and Mayor (Daniel Miller), Rhino/Number Two (Glenn Saunier), Mr. Trotter/Reporter (Jeffery Hensel), Number One (Evan Vera), Mrs. Trotter Amy Clausen and Chorus members Lily Scherer and Hailey Erlund.
After the peach falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean, the group faces hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements. Audience members are dazzled with the magical puppetry of Puppet Designer Justin "Tex" Griffiths, with glow-in-the-dark ocean scenes, menacing sharks and helpful hovering sea gulls.
Thanks to James' quick wit and creative thinking and Earthworm's newfound bravery, the comical group learn to live and work together as a family. The dangerous voyage is a success, and after being carried by seagulls, the adventure takes a whole new twist once the peach and its lively tenants land on the Empire State Building.
"Everyone worked really hard to make this production enjoyable for our audience and I think based on the enthusiastic reactions from all the kids and adults, our hard work has paid off," Turner said.
For more information call the Hill Country Arts Foundation at (830) 367-5121. Tickets may be purchased online at www.hcaf.com.