MINDEN — “James and the Giant Peach” was one of Asa Souksanh’s favorite books as a child. Now he is directing, choreographing and acting in the Minden Community Players’ musical production of the story.

Souksanh, 18, has acted in productions with the Minden Community Players, the Harlan County Dam Playhouse and Crane River Theater, but this is his first time at the helm of a play.

“I’m a huge fan of musicals, and it’s a musical and it’s also very family friendly. I wanted to do a show where I could cast a mix of kids and adults,” Souksanh said about choosing this particular play.

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“James and the Giant Peach” begins at 7:30 p.m. today. The play will continue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Minden Opera House. Patrons also will have the opportunity to see the play at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, Oct. 19, Oct. 25, Oct. 26 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 and Oct. 27. All seats are $18.

The story, written by Roald Dahl, follows James, a young boy who is sent to live with his conniving aunts after his parents’ death. They send him to chop down an old peach tree, but he discovers a magical potion that produces an enormous peach. James then is taken on an epic journey with a unique group of friends.

As a senior at Franklin Public Schools, Souksanh has learned to balance his work at school and on the musical. The play features a cast of children and adults, and the group has begun to embody the familial theme of “James and the Giant Peach.”

“This show is really a great representation of what the community has to offer artistically. We have all worked very hard. The theme of the show is finding family in unlikely places. I feel like as a cast we have grown close (like a family), and I hope the audience can feel that as well,” Souksanh said.

While some first-time directors may feel nervous about their maiden production, Souksanh said he has felt more excitement than anything else.

“The show as a whole is really my embodiment as an artist. I’m just really excited to show the audience what I can do,” he said.


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