Disney's Alice in Wonderland
by Carlsbad Community Theatre

Before Tim Burton and 3-D brought Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland to the big screen, Walt Disney and company were making the classic animated version. And now that animated movie from 1951 is off the screen, updated a bit, and hitting the theatre stages, including this fun and creative production staged by Carlsbad Community Theatre.
Unlike the movies, Alice can’t be easily resized as Lewis Carroll has her doing throughout the tale, but we still see Alice’s metamorphoses through sets and costumes and three different actors. Jessica Major is “Tall Alice” who ends up with a house costume around her torso (leading to her identity and fashion issues, i.e., “I can’t go out in this housedress!”). Such issues are replaced by other issues when Tall Alice eats magical Wonderland food. Cue Small Alice (Miranda Colvin) who comes on stage and gestures for Tall Alice to get lost (a magic tunnel and vaudeville cane are also among the devices used to transition among the three Alices.

Miranda is an impressive and amusing young actress who gets to shine in a number of scenes including the big caucus race (for which the cast does some warm-up exercises). Then there’s the hilarious garden party with the snooty flowers who talk like cliquish Valley Girls and are none too polite to Alice. But Alice is ready to give it right back. “Look girls, I think she has bugs,” one of the flowers says of Alice. To which Alice makes like she’s going to draw a gun as she responds, “Look girls, I think I have some Roundup.” Miranda looked prepared to use it. And then there’s the big number to close the first act. That’s where Taylor Tollack lets us see her “fabulosity” as she commands the stage as the charming Southern Caterpillar who leads Small Alice, the Cheshire Cats, and the rest of the cast in a big, lively, and funky Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.

And, of course, there’s regular-sized Alice! Sawyer Henderson stars as the latter. Bored with the boring book her sister (Tzytle Steinman) is reading in the park, and unable to amuse herself with her tail like her cat Dinah (good cameo by Abby Hallberg), Sawyer ends up following her real-life brother (Riley Henderson as a lively but perpetually late White Rabbit) down a fateful rabbit hole. That drop is created with the help of spinning spiral umbrellas and lots of tapping led by our terrific trio of narrating Cheshire Cats (Karina Ghiara, Troy Lingelbach, and Madison Lewis). But how else is Alice going to find a Mad Tea Party? No, not an angry anti-tax political rally. These guys are really having a party with tea (and axle grease, and liverwurst).

Justin Feinman is the Mad Hatter with a crazy, Ed Wynn-ish voice. Sean Geisterfer is a zany March Hare who does some serious mad scientist surgery on a watch. Adorable Marlowe Morris is the acrobatic and narcoleptic Dormouse. Combined, they lead the cast through a wild and crazy and entertaining tea party.

Of course, as the Cheshire cats warn, they’re all mad here. And who is madder than the Queen of Hearts? Alexa Harris is a furiously funny, intimidating, and crazy queen who is greatly admired by her adoring husband (Benjamin Little). They rule over a kingdom inhabited by many others including Paul Geisterfer as a very good Dodo Bird, Avery Mann and Harrison Schwartz going all out with the physical humor as the ditzy Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum brothers, and a large ensemble who all inhabit their various roles with such dedication, skill, and enthusiasm whether they’re Painting the Roses Red, throwing tea parties, celebrating zip-a-dee-doo-dah days, or asking Whooooo Are Youuuuuu?

Director Eric Hellmers has fantastic vision for this show and pays brilliant attention to every moment and detail. Choreographer Mary White makes all the dance numbers fun and energetic, which are executed by the cast exceptionally well. Jimmy Masterson provides the nicely conceived set, and Director Eric Hellmers is also aided by his costar from their own youth theatre days, with the great costume designer Renetta Lehman Lloyd whose creations help bring all of Carroll’s whimsical visions from imagination to reality.

Performed February 4 - 6, 2010

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Alice: Sawyer Henderson
Small Alice: Miranda Colvin
Tall Alice: Jessica Major
Queen of Hearts: Alexa Harris
King of Hearts: Benjamin Little
White Rabbit: Riley Henderson
Mad Hatter: Justin Feinman
March Hare: Sean Geisterfer
Caterpillar: Taylor Tollack
Cheshire Cat #1: Karinya Ghiara
Cheshire Cat #2: Troy Lingelbach
Cheshire Cat #3: Madison Lewis
Tweedle Dee: Avery Mann
Tweedle Dum: Harrison Schwartz
Dodo Bird: Paul Geisterfer
Doormouse: Marlowe Morris
Doorknob: Daniel McGuire
Rose: Hannah Barachkov
Violet: Olivia Langen
Petunia: Valerie Maybaum
Daisy: Courtney McKinley
Lily: Alisa Melendez
Dinah the Cat: Abby Hallberg
Mathilda: Tzytle Steinman
Lizard: Skye McMillan
Carpenter: Erin Elliott
Walrus: Logan Snodgrass

Dodgsonland Chorus:
Madeline Aldecoa
Carissa Canterbury
Maile Davis
Hannah Dustin
Jordyn Ecoff
Eliza Engle
Annika Johnson
Sophia Levorchick
Sarah Lewis
Danielle Lingelbach
Miriam Miller
Jennie Sprague
Hannah White

Dancers:
Caitlyn Canterbury
Jenny Case
Natalie Hynes
Lindsay Hynes
Olivia Langen
Jessica Martino
Marissa Sprague
Natalie Threadgill

Sea Creatures:
Caitlyn Canterbury
Jenny Case
Hannah Dustin
Briana Grubb
Abby Hallberg
Natalie Hynes
Lindsay Hynes
Carter Knight
Olivia Langen
Jessica Martino
Skye McMillan
Kennedy Nato
Emily Schneider
Marissa Sprague
Tzytle Steinman
Hannah White
Emma Vaprin

Oysters:
Madeline Aldecoa
Maile Davis
Eliza Engle
Kendall Johnson
Olivia Mejia
Torianna Nelms

Flowers:
Jenny Case
Paige Davis
Erin Elliott
Tiffany Lehman
Kenzie McClelland
Kate Pearlman
Natalie Threadgill

Flower Buds:
Maile Davis
Jordyn Ecoff
Sarah Lewis
Miriam Miller
Jennie Sprague

Royal Cards:
Caitlyn Canterbury
Carissa Canterbury
Natalie Hynes
Lindsay Hynes
Annika Johnson
Avery Johnson
Carter Knight
Sophia Levorchick
Sarah Lewis
Danielle Lingelbach
Sophie Mekjian
Kennedy Nato
Abby Penrod
Emily Schneider
Logan Snodgrass
Tzytle Steinman

Director: Eric Hellmers
Musical Director: Leigh Sutherlin
Choreographer: Mary White
Production Coordinator: Penni Barachkov
Stage Manager/Set Design: Jimmy Masterson
CAC Technical Director: Daniel Czypinski
Costume Designer: Renetta Lehman Lloyd
Set Construction:
Mike Colvin
Ed Engle
Lee Henderson
Bill Herrick
Jimmy Masterson
Stage Crew:
Laura Hellmers
Madeline Hornung
Olivia Schulenburg
Barry Steinman
Costume Assistants:
Becky Dustin
Wendy Henderson
Michelle Maybaum
Box Office Manager: Jeanne Herrick
Volunteer Coordinator: Gena Hornung
House Manager: Eddie Schwartz
Props: Patti Langen
Lobby Decoration: Kim Canterbury
Photography: Peter Johnson
Publicity: Joan Colvin
Raffle: Karen Trapane
Refreshments: Maggie Threadgill
Stargrams: Julie Hynes
Flowers: Angela Mekjian
Tea Party Fundraiser: Kim Canterbury, Nancy Schneider
Program: Kitty McMahon
CAC Technical Support: Chad Dellinger, Matt Johnson

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