NTC presents Disney's 'Alice in Wonderland Jr.'
Summer at Newnan Theatre Company is totally dedicated to kids.
In addition to the weekly Kids Camp and the Academy of Theatre Arts, NTC is offering Summer Series – 2013, three shows performed entirely by children and teens.
“Alice in Wonderland Jr.,” the first show of the series, opens on June 27 and runs for four performances: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and a Sunday 3 p.m. matinee. Directed by Dave Dorrell, this fast-paced stage adaptation of Disney’s 1951 animated film is performed entirely by a cast of middle-schoolers – a first for NTC. Even the choreographer is in middle school – 12-year-old Laney Bunce. She is choreographing three of the song and dance numbers: “The Golden Afternoon,” “The Caucus Race,” and “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.”
“The 30 children we’ve cast have varied levels of experience,” said Dorrell. “Some have been in NTC Kids Camp sessions but have never done a show. Others have performed at the Fox Theatre and the Legacy Theatre.”
Karlee Johnson, a two-year NTC veteran, is stage manager. She is an example of how young people get hooked on theater once they’re exposed to it. Recruited by Paul Conroy while she was still in high school, Karlee has worked her way up through the theater ranks, from concession sales to stage manager and even served as assistant director for “Rabbit Hole.”
All the children have roles – some are flowers, some are fish, and several are “cards” painting white roses red at the behest of the Queen of Hearts. She shouts her favorite line at them: “Off with their heads!”
There are really no “stars.” Some children are playing multiple roles while other roles are shared.
“We’ve got three Alices,” said Dorrell. “Small Alice, regular-sized Alice, and tall Alice. After all, she changes sizes, so a different person has to play her each time. We have three caterpillars as well. They serve as narrator – sometimes speaking from one direction and then from another.”
Different parts of the caterpillar separate, and then he comes back together, part by part. Pulling this off involves some ingenuity, but Dorrell is up to the task.
The show follows the movie “except for our tap-dancing White Rabbit,” said Dorrell, who is creating many of the costumes and the props – with some help from his cast. “We’ve got cardboard fish and lobsters. I’ll cut them out and have the kids paint them. That’s my secret plot. We did some last weekend, and they had fun. They were painting trees. I said, these are the Wonderland trees, so be creative. They can have stripes, polka dots, or whatever you can imagine. The kids loved the fact that they got to choose their colors and patterns.”
“The set’s going to be pretty simple,” added Dorrell. “We’ll let the focus be on the kids.”
David Simpatico wrote the “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” book (script) and adapted and wrote additional lyrics. Bryan Louiselle adapted and arranged the music and also wrote additional music and lyrics.
The other two shows in the NTC Summer Series are “Midsummer/Jersey,” directed by Katherine Kicklighter, and “Spring Awakening,” directed by Mandy Mitchell. “Midsummer/Jersey” runs July 11 – 14 and “Spring Awakening” (mature content) runs July 25--July 28.
To purchase tickets, and for show dates and times, visit Newnan Theatre Company’s web site at http://www.newnantheatre.org or visit the box office before or after any performance. The theatre is located in historic downtown Newnan at 24 First Avenue.
If you have questions regarding the content of any show, email Artistic Director Tony Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.