James and the Giant Peach is a musical with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and book by Timothy Allen McDonald based on Roald Dahl's 1961 children's book of the same name.

After McDonald and Leslie Bricusse successfully developed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory into a musical, using songs from the 1971 film adaptation, Dahl's widow Liccy granted the rights to develop James and the Giant Peach to McDonald. McDonald started assembling the creative team in 2005. Lynn Ahrens, Freddie Gershon and Michael Kerker recommended the songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul in 2008. After an audition where Pasek and Paul wrote three potential songs in a week, including two that would be worked into the show (James's first solo, "On Your Way Home" and "Property of Spiker and Sponge"), McDonald hired the duo.

The show was first staged at Goodspeed Musicals directed by Graciela Daniele featuring an all star cast. This production was in talks to go to Broadway following the run. However, due to mixed critical response, it was further developed by the team. It has been re-worked since then and in 2015, the new version became available for licensing through McDonald's company Music Theatre International and is a popular show in youth and regional theatre. A cast recording of this new version was released in 2015. Two other versions (a Theatre For Young Audiences version and a Junior version) are also available and are utilized commonly by children's theatres.


=== Act One === Ladahlord sets the stage by introducing the characters and setting the stage right in front of the audience ("Right Before Your Eyes"). The story starts with James having a nightmare while sleeping at the orphanage, remembering his parents getting eaten by a rhino at the London zoo. He wakes up in a cold sweat. He then explains to a ladybug and grasshopper on the ground his life problems ("On Your Way Home"). The next morning, James is informed that he is leaving the orphanage to live with his two aunts in Dover.

The audience meets Spiker and Sponge who are told they have to take care of a child. They pick James up at the train station and decide to use him as a slave ("Property of Spiker and Sponge"), that their true nature is revealed. They take James back to their house. Spiker walks into a spider-web and instructs James to cut down the old tree it was hanging from. The two aunts leave for the beach. Before James can cut down the tree, he pauses to save an earthworm from a centipede. He then raises his ax but is stopped by a mysterious man named Ladahlord. Ladahlord assists James in fixing his life by giving James access to one spell in Ladahlord's book of spells ("Shake it Up"). The potion is made, and on James' way back to Spiker and Sponge's house, he trips, spilling the potion all over the old tree.

The next morning, Spiker and Sponge take James back out to the garden to do more work. The three of them are surprised as they see a gigantic peach has grown on the tree. Spiker realizes that she and Sponge can use the peach to make money, and make deals with companies, allowing the lgtkmihyjufidsgtjus;.dgt,lo5kyi6j4gt5ky965-[0o3l;s]qẃ;p]lgt0o4iy698ueh7duijlkml,f;peach to be used for much commercial use and media ("There's Money on That Tree"). James tells the aunts that he made the peach grow. They call him a liar and force him to sleep outside. James decides that he'd rather live on his own than with Spiker and Sponge ("Middle of a Moment").

James enters the peach and meets the five insects he saw earlier: The grasshopper, ladybug, earthworm, spider, and centipede, who were also grown by Ladahlord's spell. The insects have also been harmed by the aunts and want to escape too. Centipede cuts the stem of the peach and the peach rolls into the ocean and starts floating in the direction of France. Grasshopper assures everyone that they will be safe and they can rely on the current to get them to France ("Floatin' Along").

Act Two[]

Time has passed and all six of our characters are hungry. They decide to ration out the peach so they won't starve and won't sink. With new energy, the insects decide to entertain James with some personal facts ("Have You Even Begun to Wonder?").

Back at the aunts' house, the aunts realize they are going to get in trouble for not being able to keep all the promises they made because they lost the peach. They are chased away by an angry mob ("A Getaway For Spiker and Sponge").

Back on the Peach, James has another nightmare. He wakes up and the insects tell him about the troubles they had with the aunts. Centipede reveals he hates all humans, including James. The other four insects try to comfort James by telling him his parents' memory will always be with him ("Everywhere That You Are").

Spiker and Sponge have escaped Dover and are now riding a cruise ship to who knows where. They long over the money they could have had, but remember they still have each other ("I Got You"). They then spot the peach and redirect the cruise ship to follow it.

The peach gets attacked by sharks. Worried that it will sink, James devises a plan to use Spider's web to attach seagulls to the peach and fly out of the water. They use Earthworm as bait to attract the seagulls ("Plump and Juicy"). Centipede is frustrated that the rest of the insects are accepting of James- a human. He falls off the peach. James ties himself to Spider's web and jumps off to save Centipede. Centipede realizes that maybe not all humans are so bad, but doesn't know how to apologize.

They arrive in New York City and are attacked by Spiker and Sponge (who have acquired attack helicopters equipped with missiles) and the peach lands on the top of the Empire State Building("Empire State/The Attack"). Once the insects and James climb down the building and are on the ground, the aunts try to take James back and exterminate the insects but are squished by the peach falling off the top of the Empire State Building.

Centipede apologizes for his actions and decides to leave, but the other insects and James want him to stay ("On Your Way Home [Reprise]"). The show ends with all the insects becoming a family and living inside the peach pit in New York ("Welcome Home").


  • The musical itself differs strongly from the 96 film and more closely to the story itself.