Madrona Children’s Theater presents a ‘Peach’

By Jesse Blair | Mar 13, 2018
Courtesy of: Dorothy Pierce Madrona Children’s Theater’s “James and the Giant Peach” is Thursday through Sunday, March 15-18.

A 30-piece orchestra, professional sets and costumes, and industry professionals fulfilling all of creative roles, is what audiences can expect when the Madrona Children’s Theater presents Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” at Mountlake Terrace High School.

“What drew me to this story was its innocence, and the sweetness and good soul,” director Dorothy Pierce said. “You find the most humanity in the characters that aren’t human, which is really interesting.”

In its 26th season, MCT has gone from producing small musicals to now producing Broadway-style productions with casts approaching 100. In “James and the Giant Peach,” 90 fourth- through eighth-grade students are split between two casts.

Pierce has been in theater since she was 5, and said all she has ever wanted to do was be a performer. She had her first professional job at 16, with her transition from performance to education started in 2002.

Since then, she has produced and directed many school musicals. Currently, she works at Edmonds Heights K- 12 teaching improv, drama, musical theater and stage makeup classes. Last year was her first year working with Madrona.

“I was really excited for the opportunity,” Pierce said. “I am an Edmonds mom myself. My daughter is part of the Edmonds School District, and I really feel incredibly tied to the creation of arts in our community. When it boils down to it, these kids are getting an experience at Madrona that is unlikely to be matched at any point in their careers. What’s left to them is to be artists, young artists who are creating. And they do arrive to it. They really do.”

Music director Mark Press has been with the program since it started 26 years ago. He is a general educator in the Edmonds School District, teaching at the elementary level.

“He is a great uniter in his own way,” Pierce said. “In many ways, it’s his passion that keeps things going all the time.”

Even after students finish Madrona, Press will continue attending his students’ performances.

“He will be in the audience cheering them on,” Pierce said. “They are his kids.”

Pierce praised the show’s parent producers: “They are amazing. They do everything. They make it seamless. They are truly, truly committed.”

What unique aspect can children bring to a production that adults can’t?

“They bring innocence,” Pierce explained. “They bring honesty that isn’t manufactured. They have no filters, so they are really funny to work with. The two young boys who are playing James bring an honesty to the character that would be difficult for an adult to create because they have moved so far from that stage in their life.”

MCT integrates American Sign Language into its productions. At the curtain call, the children perform a sign-language number.

“And it is really beautiful,” Pierce said. “There is no way to watch it without getting full of tears. Professional interpreters sign throughout the course of the entire show at ASL performances.”

What does Pierce hope audiences take away?

“‘Because there is magic, now you know you made magic. Make it grow,’” she said, reading from a passage of the script.

“And that is what I think they are doing. The kids did it. They made it grow. And I think if it is truly successful they will come away not saying, ‘Oh, wow! That was a great school show. That was great. That was splendid. That was awesome. Those actors did a great job, and we don’t even think of it as being a children’s theater show.’”


“James and the Giant Peach”

Where: Mountlake Terrace High School auditorium, 21801 44th Ave. W,Mountlake Terrace
When: 7 p.m. March 15-17; 2 p.m. March 17-18
Tickets: $10 for adults and $5 for students/children 14 and younger. Tickets also will be sold at the door one hour before each performance. For ASL and handicap seating, contact Kerry Brockman at madronatickets@gmail.com
Information: www.madronatickets.brownpapertickets.com/ or 800-838-3006

 

 

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