Pennridge North MS to Present “James and the Giant Peach Jr.”

Ellie Borghi, Student Writer

Pennridge North Middle School is gearing up for their upcoming production of “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” this weekend. The showtimes are Friday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are available to purchase for $7.00 via online pre-order at, by telephone at (800)-838-3006, and at the door.

“James and the Giant Peach Jr.” is a whimsical musical that tells the story of a young orphan who gets sent to live with his two not-so-loving aunts and ends up befriending a posse of bugs. They embark on an adventure floating across the ocean inside a giant peach.

Preparation for this show comes from many sub-areas including the actors, tech team, costume team, choreographers, and the director. For actress Anna Yates, it has been quite the journey since the day the cast list came out with her name typed beside the character “Spiker” (one of the two aunts). She knew off the bat that she would have to stretch herself beyond her comfort zone to act mean, as she relates most to the caring character of Ladybug. As opening night approaches, Anna is excited about the quirky costumes, the musical number “Property of Spiker and Sponge,” and working and performing with the seventh graders. She expressed, “I’m in a lot of scenes with seventh graders…so I’ve really gotten close to them.” Because this show has consumed her daily life for months- rehearsing lines for at least two hours per week on her own- when asked what she would be doing with her free time after her final show of middle school is over, Anna replied, “I don’t know.”

From the perspective of a sound tech, Scott Borghi is looking forward to this weekend’s shows. After being in North’s shows the past three years, this is his first year behind the soundboard, working side-by-side with high school senior Kelly Roland. Tech week is the week prior to the performances, and it is the most hectic week for the sound team.  Before each rehearsal, Scott sets up the levels for mic check to ensure that each run goes smoothly. When it comes to show time, Scott says he is “really excited to watch all the performances because this is the first show in three years that [he hasn’t] been in.”

Joyce Shellenberger is the director at North, and her biggest priority has been to answer the question, “how are we going to make the magic happen?”. Since the first week of November when rehearsals began, Mrs. Shellenberger has been doing just that. She has introduced a brand new show that has not been done in the area before to the kids involved, and she has loved watching them fall in love with it. Working with the leads has been especially rewarding for her, as she has been able to see the actors and actresses grow into their characters.  Mrs. Shellenberger feels as though she plays a similar role to the narrator of the story, Ladahlord, because she “makes things happen, kind of like me as director.” To keep her going during the final stretch leading up to the show, Mrs. Shellenberger relies on her trusty dark chocolate stash, iced tea, and lots of Wawa!

The hard work of the cast and crew of “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” is sure to yield an incredible weekend of performances! According to Mrs. Shellenberger, “Friday night historically is known to sell the most, though Saturday matinee last year was also sold out.” Don’t miss your chance to see this fun and heartwarming show!