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  • Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Andre Centlivre, center, stars as James in “James and the Giant Peach.” The insects around him have been influenced by 1980s pop culture icons.

  • Dancers perform to music by Flock of Seagulls in “James and the Giant Peach.” The show will be today and Sunday at Arts United Center.

Friday, May 12, 2017 1:00 am

Youtheatre's 'Giant Peach' part of Fairy Tale Fest

If you go

What: “James and the Giant Peach”

When: 7 p.m. today and 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.

Admission: $18 adults, $12 seniors and children

What: The Bug Ball

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Where: Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.

Admission: $12 adults, $8 seniors and children

What: “Fractured Fairy Tales”

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.

Admission: $18 adults, $12 seniors and children

What: 4th annual Fairy Tale Fest

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Downtown arts campus

Admission: All day passes are $20 for ages 3 and older and include admission to “James and the Giant Peach” and “Fractured Fairy Tales” as well as performances by Fort Wayne Ballet and Fort Wayne Dance Collective

If you are a fan of “James and the Giant Peach” and the 1980s, then Youtheatre has just the production for you. The opening show of the Youtheatre's 4th annual Fairy Tale Fest includes enough '80s nostalgia to have you perming your hair to the max.

To draw adults into the children's story, director Gregory Steiber's adaptation includes the storyline of a 40-something man going through his childhood bedroom with the help of his son. As the father and son read “Giant Peach,” the '80s references in the bedroom color the retro motif of Youtheatre's production.

For example, each of the seven insects in the story is dressed as a pop culture icon from the 1980s such as the Cyndi Lauper lady bug and Stevie Nix earthworm.

“I wanted it to be a theater experience that a kid could share with their parent or grandparent,” Steiber says.

James is played by Youtheatre veteran Andre Centlivre. His brother, Henry, plays a younger version of James in the show. In all, 40 youth will be in the production, joined by five adults.

Steiber initially had a cast of 30 in mind for the show, but increased it when 100 people showed up for auditions. In recent years, Youtheatre has most often performed in the smaller Black Box theatre, but there will be plenty of room for the larger cast with “Giant Peach” taking place on the main stage of the Arts United Center.

“The big stage ... is where our roots are, so it's nice to be home on the stage where Youtheatre's been housed for years,” Steiber says.

Before the “Giant Peach” performance tonight is the Bug Ball where families can meet characters from the show. There will be food and Fort Wayne Children's Zoo will be on hand with real insects.

A “Giant Peach” show opens Youtheatre's Fairy Tale Fest on Saturday. The festival includes Fort Wayne Ballet's production of “Dr. Seuss' The Lorax” and Fort Wayne Dance Collective's performance of “Crumpet the Trumpet.” Outside of the Arts United Center, there will be face painting, food trucks and other family activities. A performance of “Fractured Fairy Tales” closes the festival.

For a full schedule of the festival, go to

– Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette