Cast and crew reflect on successful spring musical


This past weekend, Holy Family’s drama department performed a musical entitled James and the Giant Peach. They held three showtimes over the course of Friday and Saturday. Seventeen students participated in the play, including some middle schoolers that are eager to join our growing theater program. All the actors, along with the stage managers and production crew, were very happy with the result of the performances and are excited to release future projects. 

The musical, based on the famous book by Roald Dahl, is about a boy named James (played by Emily Sokolis). When James’s parents pass away, he is shipped off to live with his evil aunts (played by Kalie Dahl and Ruthie Farner). The story quickly turns when he discovers a magical potion that brings about unexpected changes, like a giant peach and life-sized insects. On his journey, James goes on a crazy trip through the ocean and into sky, all while developing a new family.

This musical was especially exciting due to the fact that it was the first put on by the theater department in eight years.

A few students shared their reactions:

Kalie Dahl, who played the evil aunt Sponge, excitedly said, “Overall the play was one of the highlights of my freshman year!” Since this was her first real production in a theater program she said, “I was super nervous and thought I would do really bad, but I feel like I really became comfortable singing and acting in front of a lot of people, which is a big plus!” When asked about her character, Kalie said, “I think Sponge was super funny, but has a very different personality from mine… but I still think I did an okay job at being evil.” She added, “The hardest part of this role was to try to make sure I was funny… I wanted to make sure I didn’t ruin the part.” Lastly, she encourages everyone to tryout for the play or musical next year because it was a ton of fun.

The main character, Emily Sokolis, also shared her thoughts. She said, “The musical was well thought-out by our director and the actors fit their roles very well.” Having the main role isn’t easy, but Emily said, “I really enjoyed portraying James… it was a very good fit for me and I connect to him well.” She said she learned a lot from this experience and stated, “The hardest part was probably when I had to sing my three solos. I knew I could do it, but it was hard to show everyone else I could.” She also encourages others to tryout next year because of the new friends you will make.

Elisabeth Gangwer, the stage manager, also reflected on the production. When asked about the original story, she said, “I read the book when I was in 4th grade and I’ve always loved it!” Being in charge of all the lights, music, props, etc. isn’t easy, but she said, “The hardest part of my job was to not worry about the other aspects of the play and focus on my role.” Reflecting on the experience, she said her main take-away was that she “needed to plan better and make sure everything is ready ahead of time.” Lastly she said the most fun part of the play was “connecting and becoming friends with people I wouldn’t normally have the chance to talk to.”