Middle school students stage 'James and the Giant Peach Jr.'

Go on an extraordinary journey with “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” at Moco Arts in Keene.

KEENE — MoCo Arts Middle School Musical Theatre class will present a production of Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” at 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday in the Founder’s Theatre, 40 Roxbury St.

It’s the fantastical tale of a boy, his insect friends and their amazing journey across the ocean on a giant piece of fruit.

Featuring 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.” follows the orphaned boy as he 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. Together they discover that “family” is as much a choice as something you’re born into.

“Behind its wit and whimsy, ‘James and the Giant Peach’ explores some sophisticated themes,” said Justin Paul, who co-wrote the music and lyrics for the musical with Benj Pasek. “How do we define our family? How do we start over after a big loss? We’ve always planned to make it available for performance by schools and educational theater groups as soon as possible, because — and we think Roald Dahl would agree — young people are capable of amazing things.”

The musical was adapted to be performed by students by educational musical theater firm iTheatrics under the supervision of Timothy Allen McDonald.

“James is a child put in a remarkable situation, and with the help and support of some new friends he is able to achieve great things,” Pasek said. “Similarly, these MoCo Arts students are working together in extraordinary ways to present this musical. We know their show is going to be great. Break a leg, guys!”

Tickets to the shows are $12, and they may be purchased at MoCo Arts, by calling 357-2100 or by visiting moco.org.