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Children's Theatre Of Annapolis Prepares For Production Of "Alice"

Dylan Roche
View Bio
April 4, 2012

By Dylan Roche
Photos Courtesy Of Kathleen Ouellette

For nearly a century and a half, the nonsense tales “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass,” have delighted children and adults alike. Now, the amusing mishap of a little girl lost in a befuddling dreamland takes the stage in a fresh interpretation performed by Children’s Theatre of Annapolis.

The production features the talents of close to 35 area youth between the ages of 8 and 14, who have been rehearsing since early February.

In this version, Lewis Carroll’s classic fantasy story is given an updated twist. Much as the original book satirizes Victorian England, this musical adaptation parodies contemporary American culture — with modern dialogue and pop references, the production will keep the audience surprised at every turn.

The adventure begins when curious young Alice (Chrissy Scott) chases the White Rabbit (Gabe Needle) down a rabbit hole, and finds herself lost in a world where nothing is as it seems and anything is possible.

Throughout her adventures in Wonderland, Alice meets an array of colorful characters, including Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (Katie Garrity and Camille White), the garden of talking flowers (Hallie Parrott, Geneva Croteau, Colleen Coleman, Jaden Burnett, Nia Rowe, and Liza Bedlin), the wise Caterpillar (Alexandra Baca), and the elusive Cheshire Cat (Devon Beagan, Reilly Claxton, and Vanessa Daelmans). Alice also finds herself joining in on the mad tea party with the Hatter (Clifford Jamieson) and March Hare (Tiana Pindell), and comes face-to-face with the furious Queen of Hearts (Madison Oullette).

The young cast has risen to meet the performance demands of this unique story, using their acting skills to create many of the quirky details. When the food and drink of Wonderland causes Alice to change sizes, her smaller identity will be played by Emily Small, while her talent self will be played by Ella Green. Presenting different versions of the same girl, the three performers have worked together to create a consistent character between them.

Similarly, the ever-disappearing and reappearing Cheshire Cat, who serves as the story’s narrator, will also be played by three actors. Beagan, Claxton, and Daelmans get creative in their own distinctive portrayal of the iconic feline.

CTA is no stranger to the visual challenges of fanciful children’s stories. In recent years, the company has tackled “Willy Wonka,” “Dr. Dolittle,” and “Aladdin.” To bring the surreal world of Wonderland to life, a team of parent volunteers and CTA board members have dedicated endless time, energy and talent.

Creative visionary Sue Tilberry leads a crew of costume designers in the enormous task of transforming a cast of kids into the outlandish creatures. Meanwhile, set designer Billy Smith and facilities manager Chris Timko have built an elaborate set full of platforms, doorways and giant mushrooms. Videographer and editor Steve Kobrin of Doghouse Media has made a digital movie, complete with green screen special effects, to create the illusion of the rabbit hole that leads into Wonderland.

With a lively cast and dedicated creative team, “Alice in Wonderland” looks to be a fun-filled performance from CTA, which has been producing quality children’s theatre for over 50 years. In addition to three full-length shows each season, CTA also hosts a variety of workshops and other performing arts events.

“Alice in Wonderland” will run the weekends of April 13-15 and 20-22. Performances are 7:30pm on Friday, 2:00pm and 7:00pm on Saturdays, and 2:00pm on Sundays. For classes interested in taking field trips to see the production, tickets are available for a performance for school groups Thursday, April 19. To purchase tickets or find more information, visit www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org.

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