Civic Theatre to put on Alice in Wonderland

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 21, 2003

Thanks to a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council Inc., Albert Lea Community Theatre is adding a few &uot;extras&uot; to make its upcoming children’s theatre production of &uot;Alice in Wonderland&uot; stand out.

The theatre is renting costumes from both the Children’s Theatre Company and The Guthrie Theatre.

&uot;Also because of the grant, we were able to hire a scene designer, Sasha Olchefske, a senior at Mankato State,&uot; said Artistic Director Patrick Rasmussen. &uot;She is able to get some experience and it takes the load off me so I’m able to concentrate on directing.&uot;

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Kris Graff, who has experience in theatre makeup, has been working with the actors in creating makeup for their characters, in many cases quite complicated.

Mike Wangen, an Albert Lea native who does lighting design for theatres in the Twin Cities area, is also bringing some big-city lighting effects to the show, Rasmussen said. &uot;We’ll have a rotating Gobo, which projects shapes onto the set. It will be a flashy show.&uot;

The grant, through funding from the Minnesota Legislature, stipulates that the young people involved in the show do more than just act. &uot;We’re treating this like summer theatre, where the kids are working in the shop and are responsible for their props,&uot; the director said. &uot;It’s more of a learning process.&uot;

The cast includes Erica Sorenson as Alice, Chris Axsmith as White Rabbit, Kelli Danner as Caterpillar, Nissa Nordland as Frog Footman, Betsy Paulson as Cook, Emily O’Malley-Larson as Duchess, Stephan Johnson as March Hare, Ross Pirsig as Mad Hatter, Korbin Wayne as Dormouse, Merissa Kittleson as Mock Turtle, Molly Kate Sutton as Gryphon, Juliana Peterson as Tweedledee, Kaycee Nelson as Tweedledum, Emily Hacker as Red Queen, Emily Gaudian as White Queen, Tyler Wiese as King of Hearts and Brooke Arnold as Knave of Hearts.

Rasmussen said more than 30 kids auditioned for the 17 roles.

He stresses the play is like people remember the book to be, not the Disney version. This adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s book was written by Charlotte Chorpenning. It runs about 55 minutes with no intermission, which makes it a perfect play for children.

It’s the first of three plays ACT is doing for children with the grant. The next one will be in September with auditions in August.

There will be copies of the book for sale in the lobby of the theater, and people can have members of the cast sign it if they like. People can also bring cameras and take photos of a child and cast members after the play. No pictures will be allowed during the play, the director said.

Reserved general admission tickets for the play are $7. They go on sale at the box office beginning Monday from 3:30-6 p.m. The play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, June 26 and 27, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the Albert Lea Civic Theatre.