TUTS presents James and the Giant Peach

CAST FROM HUMPHREYS SCHOOL OF MUSICAL THEATRE

by Bernadette Verzosa


James and the Giant Peach
Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive
June 8, 9 & 10 at 11 a.m.  (short version - 45 minutes)  FREE ADMISSION
June 10 & 11 at 8:15 p.m.  (long version - 2 hours)  FREE ADMISSION  


CLICK HERE for more information on TUTS Humphreys School of Musical Theatre
Photos courtesy of Theatre Under The Stars 

     What a fantastic and spectacular year for students at Theatre Under The Stars' (TUTS) Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT)! Many of them were cast in musicals that have been family favorites for generations.            

      TUTS presented a delightful line-up at the Hobby Center that had parts for children including Mary Poppins, Oliver and A Christmas Story. Imagine the show tunes that have been sung at rehearsals: from "Consider Yourself," "I'll Do Anything" and "Food, Glorious Food" to "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!"  

      Now TUTS is staging another classic for its annual Miller Outdoor Theatre grand finale James and the Giant Peach. The musical is based on the popular children's novel written by Roald Dahl in 1961.

     "Performing at Miller is one of the highlights of our year.  The kids are absolutely thrilled not only to perform in one of Houston's most well-known and unique venues, but also to perform for so many people," says HSMT Administrative Director Sam Brown. "Peach is one of those stories that definitely benefits from a large performance space. Being on this stage means that we're able to show the scope and breadth of James's adventures in a grandiose and exciting way."

 

SPIKER & SPONGE

       Two talented teenagers play James's cruel and conniving aunts: 16-year-old Alexa Magro is Sponge and 18-year-old Lauren McDonald is Spiker.

      Magro has performed at the TUTS productions at Miller Outdoor Theatre for the past four years. She was in Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Big and High School Musical. "This is probably the most fun character I've ever played. Sponge has this crazy addiction to food. It's the way she copes with her fears. She's immature and it's so much fun to act immature," she says.

      Magro considers TUTS her second home. "This place has changed my life. I've made life-long friends of all ages. We take technique classes here for singing, dancing and acting. I've improved more than I would have thought I would be able to," she says. "The opportunities they give us here are just insane. We get to perform in the main stage and do shows with the adults. It's unreal. I love it more than anything in the world."

     McDonald says one critical take-away from her time at TUTS is resilience. "I've learned how to audition and be confident in the skill set that I have, realizing that I have an actor tool box, not to take every rejection as a personal thing but as a growing experience," she says, "My little tool box, they didn't need it for this show. I'm going to find another audition and hopefully I'll be needed."

 

JAMES - ROLES & REHEARSALS    

         Sean Graul, an 11-year-old actor from Cypress, plays James, the main character. "James is nothing like me so I'm really acting. He loses his voice metaphorically and takes an adventure to get it back. It's fun to act out the adventure in this story that's magical and illogical and so wacky," he says.

     Graul also starred as Michael Banks in Mary Poppins in March. His Hobby Center debut was as Randy in A Christmas Story last December. "Randy was a role that had me on stage a lot but I didn't have a lot of lines or solos which was good for my first ever main stage performance with TUTS," he says. "By the time I was Michael Banks, I was comfortable and relaxed and liked all of the lines and singing that came with it. I was ready for it."

     Graul also learned how to squeeze in schoolwork during demanding performance schedules. "There was time to do homework during rehearsals when they were working on scene changes or getting things on and off the stage," he says. "My teachers were very understanding."         

     Graul is starting middle school in the fall and he's excited about the challenges of juggling a new school with another year of classes and shows at TUTS!
CLICK HERE for information about TUTS SUMMER CAMPS

 





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