Auditions for Pella High School’s production of James and the Giant Peach were held August 24 and 25. Over sixty students tried out for the musical with only 24 receiving parts. The auditions consisted of a small singing portion, a choreographed group dance, and a few select scenes from the musical. Callbacks were then held the following Monday after the first auditions. These callbacks focused more on individual parts and singing.
James and the Giant Peach is the first musical put on by the Pella High School speech department. Up until now, musicals were handled by the choir department, but Suzanne Jones and Ashlee Whittington decided they wanted to try their hand at musicals. The process in directing a musical has been quite a challenge for Jones and Whittington. Casting the musical has been one of the biggest challenges so far.
“There are a lot of factors that go into musicals,” said Whittington. “A play you got how people work together, acting choices and abilities, and then on a musical, you have all of that plus how people move on the stage, how they sing, how they act and sing, so there are a lot of factors that go into casting a musical.”
During the casting process, Whittington and Jones were looking for a variety of things from auditions; however, even though Whittington and Jones were looking for many thing, the whole process remained relaxed.
“My audition experience was much more comfortable then I expected,” said Connor Gauley, a freshman who will be playing James. “The directors did a great job of not creating a very nervous atmosphere. I felt it was smooth and efficient and was so happy to be a part of it.”
From here, Jones and Whittington have a lot of work cut out for them as they prepare the musical. These things range from learning the choreography to blocking out each scene. The show is one and half months away. It will be held on November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.