By John Gauthier
If the people in the Cabool-Willow Springs area seem alight in step– having a zip – and light in spirit – whistling “dee-doo-dah,” the reason may very well be they experienced the infectiousness of the “Alice in Wonderland” musical at one of its seven performances at the Willow Springs Star Theatre during the last two weeks of April.
The STARS Foundation closed its production of “Disney’s Alice In Wonderland” on April 27 after two weekends of performances to sell-out crowds and a last-minute double performance on its last Saturday evening.
No wonder. The 73-member cast ranging in ages from 3 to 16 years old, provided laughs and claps for their characterization of Alice, the harried White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, the Cheshire cat (in three simultaneous actors), the singing flowers, lobsters and royal cardsmen (deck of cards). Each show saw the performance and characterizations of the actors improve, making the experience even more memorable and their music contagious for long after the lights were dimmed.
There was Alice (Tia Copling) in ballet, the still sassy caterpillar (Bailey Gilkeson) strutting her stuff, the harried White Rabbit (Jackson Williams) circling the stage and theatre, the bumping and bungling of Tweedle Dee (Brante Copling) and Tweedle Dum (Kyleigh Peterson) in the song “How D’You Do.” And, getting all 73 cast members on stage for the finale. One must not forget the captivating performance of Forest Swisher as the King of Hearts – moving around the stage on his knees, wearing a royal cape to mask the charade, and a comical crown with wild patches of orange hair; it was just the right height to capture the enthusiasm and sparkle of his eyes, even in the back row! Nor should the convincing performance of Courtney Burnes, who captured the essence of the demanding queen, be overlooked. Bravo to the entire cast.
The production director, Rebecca Peterson, guided not only the staging of the show but also the music. Rebecca serves as the executive director of the STARS Foundation and principal instructor in its music program. She has played a leading role in the Foundation’s theatre productions during the past several years. For the last three performances of the “Alice” production, Rebecca introduced the “director’s perspective” to the audience in which she pointed out various techniques she used in creating Alice’s imaginary tiny world and the character performances in it.
With the close of “Alice” the STARS Foundation has announced the open auditions for its presentation of Disney’s “High School Musical.” Auditions for singers, dancers, athletes and musicians are scheduled for Saturday, May 18, from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Willow Springs Star Theater and at the STARS Foundation facilities in Cabool from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. Anyone unable to attend the auditions should contact 417-254-3168 for an appointment.
Courtesy, The Cabool Enterprise.