Thursday, April 4, 2013

STARS students to stage musical "Alice in Wonderland" in Willow Springs theater

Alice, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, and White Rabbit are characters from the Disney musical version of a zany world of "Alice in Wonderland." They are about to make their appearance at Willow Springs Star Theatre on April 18, 19, 20 and again on April 25, 26, and 27.

Tickets will be on sale April 5 at Landmark Bank in Willow Springs, Houston, and Cabool. Landmark Bank is the sponsor for the production.

Rehearsals for the 75-member cast have been underway at the STARS Foundation center in Cabool since late March. Thirty-five of the cast members are participants in the STARS Foundation fine arts program where they receive instruction and experience with musical instruments and artistic tools on a weekly basis.

Alice, whose quirky experiences and odd encounters are the focus of the musical adaptation of the Lewis Carroll novel and in the Disney movie, is portrayed by three young actresses, who seek to assist the audience in seeing Alice as a normal sized-girl, a taller person and an even shorter, bewildered young girl. Capturing the character of Alice is a challenge in itself, but coordinating dialogue and movement with two other actors to maintain the magic of theatre requires extra special efforts and talent. Meeting those challenges are Tia Copling as the "tall" Alice, Madison Peterson as the normal-sized central character Alice, and Briley Gilkeson as the "smaller" Alice. All the "Alices" agree that the role, and sharing it, is a challenge but see it also as a way to acquire new skills and build self-confidence, precisely the goal of the fine arts programs and a mission of STARS Foundation.

All the Alice actresses are active participants in the STARS program. Madison plays the violin, occupies the first violin seat as concert master in the STARS orchestra and has played in a number of the recent public concerts arranged by STARS. Tia, who has taken modern dance and ballet lessons, has a goal of mastering the cello and playing in the STARS orchestral programs. Both Madison and Tia are at the tenth grade level in home-schooling and provide community cleaning services as payment for the STARS lessons. Briley is in the fourth grade and lives in Raymondville.

Similar casting has been applied to the intriguing Cheshire cat, that mystical, amusing feline who seems bent on confusing the bewildered Alice. Kamron Whipple of Mountain Grove, LaDana Aguilar from Cabool, and Megan Rosso from Mountain Grove fill those roles. Wyatt Ennis from Willow Springs portrays the Mad Hatter and Jackson Williams of Cabool is cast as the White Rabbit.

Courtesy, The Cabool Enterprise