UPPER WEST SIDE — Like many parents, Golden Globe-winning Paul Giamatti read Roald Dahl to his son at bedtime, and reveled in the author's dark humor and inventive plot lines.
This December, Giamatti will read Dahl to an audience of 800 people, conjuring characters from "James and the Giant Peach" to "The Enormous Crocodile," in an event celebrating the beloved storyteller at Symphony Space.
The Dec. 8 evening is a benefit for First Book-Manhattan, a non-profit that helps give books to kids in need.
Symphony Space said it's still pulling in a mix of big name actors and up-and-coming stars to be part of the dramatic readings, as well as musical acts that will perform music from Roald Dahl movies and musicals.
"I think everybody likes being read to, even grownups," said Jennifer Brennan, the production coordinator for literary performances at Symphony Space.
The performance, with tickets for $25, is expected to sell out, said Brennan, in part because Dahl so readily appeals to both adults and kids — and there are also an awful lot of Giamatti fans, she said.
Dahl's witty stories and books transcend age groups, she said.
"You get a certain level of humor [in Dahl's writing] as an adult that you wouldn’t get as an 8-year-old," she explained.
But the organization is carefully combing through Dahl's vast collection, she said, because not all of his stories are appropriate for children.
Though Giamatti said it's his favorite, the organization ruled out "The Twits," a story about a nasty couple that jails and abuses a family of monkeys in their house.
Still, said Brennan, the evening will be appropriate for kids 8 and older, but, "it’s not going to be babyish."
"The Revolting Rhymes," Dahl's collection of "fractured fairytales" will be on the roster, said Brennan, but the rest of the hour-to-two hour-long show — with the length still being ironed out — is being kept a surprise for now.
"We want to keep a little mystery," said Brennan.
Tickets are on sale here.