The distinct sub-class
By TYLER WILSON
JEROME A. POLLOS/Press
Lake City Playhouse's production of "James and the Giant Peach" is now playing and stars Dane Wurmlinger, front right, in the lead role alongside Matthew Peyton, front left, as the wizard who gives James a bag of magic crystals. Back row, from left, Molly Roberts, Brendan Souvenir, Jillian Wurmlinger, Taylor Lindsay and Sara Briggs.
Talented kids put on 'James and the Giant Peach'
There are kids, and there are Theater Kids.
Danielle Holcomb, director of the Lake City Playhouse production of "James and the Giant Peach," offers a simple explanation of what it's like to supervise this distinct sub-class.
"You take the most animated, loudest, most center of attention kids, and you put 24 of them in one room," Holcomb said.
She means that in the best way possible.
"James and the Giant Peach" continues today at 7:30 p.m. and runs through April 5 at the Playhouse.
Holcomb was, and still is, a Theater Kid. Although "Peach" is her directorial debut at the Playhouse, the 23-year-old directed an all-dance version of "The Little Mermaid" last month at her own Dance Wise Studio. She's also been seen onstage in recent Playhouse productions of "Little Shop of Horrors" and "A Few Good Men."
"I've always had that desire to have my hands in everything," Holcomb said.
She appears unfazed by the back-to-back projects with rambunctious kids, even though she says directing a show basically means living at the Playhouse for several weeks.
Holcomb and her energetic cast are well suited for "James and the Giant Peach." Based on the Roald Dahl classic, the story centers on James, a young boy who is treated like a slave by his malicious aunts. When he encounters an old wizard in the woods, James is promised a magical journey full of happiness, talking bugs and oversized fruit.
Dane Wurmlinger, a 13-year-old student at Holy Family Catholic School, plays James in the production. He said it's easy to get excited about Dahl's bizarre world.
"It's a crazy story, and half of it doesn't make any sense," Wurmlinger said.
Wurmlinger prepared for his role by participating in summer courses with the Playhouse. He also appeared as Edmund in a Christian Youth Theatre-North Idaho production of "The Chronicles of Narnia" last fall.
Working on this show makes Wurmlinger think he's already found his career, and that discovery only makes him want to work harder.
"I'm getting better," he said. "I have to work on learning my lines. I have a lot of lines."
Nineteen year-old Matthew Peyton is another grown up Theater Kid. When he was just 2 years old, his mother would take him along for community theater auditions and rehearsals.
"I have a couple of pictures where I'm standing on stage holding her hand," Peyton said.
Peyton has two roles in "James and the Giant Peach." He plays the old wizard who sends James on his journey, and later in the story he appears as a pessimistic earthworm. Like Holcomb, Peyton feeds off the energy that comes from working with kids.
"Sometimes they can be a little rowdy, but kids will be kids. I like it," Peyton said.
Holcomb said her entire cast, young and old, exhibited strong work ethic during rehearsals.
"They have definitely worked as hard as any other actor in any other show," Holcomb said. "I would definitely say it's worthy to be up next to the other shows this season."
"James and the Giant Peach" runs today through April 5 at the Lake City Playhouse. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays. Tickets are $10-16. Call 667-1323 to reserve a seat.
The Lake City Playhouse is located at 1320 E. Garden Ave. in Coeur d'Alene. For more information, visit www.lakecityplayhouse.org.