James and the Giant Peach JR.

Siaira Anderson (of Walla Walla), Ryan Jacobs (of Elgin), Megan Duffy (of Elgin) and Madeline Breiling (of Pendleton) rehearse the upcoming production of “James and the Giant Peach JR.” at the Elgin Opera House.

ELGIN — Friends of the Opera House will present a production of Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach JR.” on Aug. 20 and 21.

The performances are the culmination of this year’s youth summer camp at the Elgin Opera House. Shows are at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20, and 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 21. These will be on the outdoor stage on the north lawn of the Opera House. Admission is free. Those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets, and snacks are allowed.

“A delightfully offbeat adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl adventure, ‘James and the Giant Peach JR.’ is a fantastical tale of a boy, his insect friends and their amazing journey across the ocean on a giant piece of fruit,” said Terry Hale, artistic director of the Friends of the Opera House, quoting from the play’s description.

The show features more than 65 youth actors from five Eastern Oregon counties.

With music and lyrics by the Tony-nominated songwriters Justin Paul and Benj Pasek and book by Timothy Allen McDonald, “James and the Giant Peach JR.” tells the story of an orphaned child who finds a loving family in a most peculiar way. Sent by his mean, conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, James discovers a magic potion that results in a tremendous peach occupied by some not-so-normal characters. From the center of the gigantic fruit, James and the unlikely crew launch a journey of enormous proportions.

Hale said the Friends of the Opera House received a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to help fund this production aimed at “providing worthy opportunities for youth to progress physically and emotionally after a long year of COVID-related shutdowns.”

The production is directed, choreographed and costumed by Opera House youth actors and alumni.

“We are making this experience as youth-centric as possible,” Hale said. “We are maximizing the opportunities for our youth to grow in leadership ability as well as artistically.”

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