In anticipation of its upcoming youth-centric Theatre Academy, Robidoux Resident Theatre wants to introduce people to a stop-motion classic.

Screening the Tim Burton-produced 1996 film “James and the Giant Peach,” RRT invites the public to check it out and learn more about how their kid can get involved with the company’s own production of it in 2020.

“The musical version is so cool. It’s just magical and has great music in it. But I realized kids may not have seen the movie, so we’re doing it for free,” Lindsay Prawitz, program director for RRT, said.

The movie will be screened at the Ruby Theater, 615 S. 10th St. at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17.

RRT’s Theatre Academy runs from September through March, establishing the building blocks of acting and backstage production, with it concluding with a performance of “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” The classes focus on voice projection, team building, confidence, set construction, costume and prop building, makeup, areas of the stage and other theatre essentials. There are three classes available, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Prawitz said she landed on the musical, an interpretation of the Roald Dahl book, with music by Pasek & Paul from the “The Greatest Showman,” because it was different from what other junior theatre camps were doing.

“I try to pick something that the kids have never seen before or done before,” she said.

The PG-rated movie revolves around James (Paul Terry), an orphan who lives with his two cruel aunts. After he befriends anthropomorphic bugs (voiced by Richard Dreyfuss and Jane Leeves) who live inside a giant peach, they embark on a journey to New York City. The movie is directed by Henry Selick, who helmed similar dark children’s films like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Coraline.”

Giving people the chance, whether they’re interested in the program or want to see the movie, to view “James and the Giant Peach” for free, Prawitz said she wanted to open up the space to everyone. With the success of screenings like “The Greatest Showman” and “The Sound of Music,” she thought it would be fun to get people acquainted with less-ubiquitous property.

“We’ve had a couple of movies here at the Ruby and it’s just awesome on the screen,” she said. “We were thinking about what we can do for the kids to have some kind of free event because not all families can pay for Theatre Academy, so we want to have a free event for them and get them in the building.”

Concessions will be available for purchase at the event. There also will be information about Theatre Academy and how to register for classes. To reserve free tickets for the screening, go to or call 816-232-1778.

— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live

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