HOPEDALE - The Hope Players' upcoming production of "Disney's Alice in Wonderland, Jr." will see many new faces on stage and behind the scenes.
The show is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Harrison East Elementary School in Hopedale.
The musical is based on Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and its sequel, "Through the Looking Glass" and Disney's 1951 animated feature. It includes all the familiar songs from movie, including "I'm Late" and "The Un-birthday Song," as well as "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" from Disney's 1946 feature "Song of the South." "Alice Jr." was adapted for the stage by David Sympatico and Bryan Louiselle.
HOPE PLAYERS PRODUCTION – Cassie Bellerive, from left, Patrisha Hood, Ellie Talbott, Cheyenne Shrieve and Aqua Beckett rehearse for the Hope Players’ production of “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr.” to be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Harrison East Elementary School in Hopedale. Audience members can save $2 over box office prices by purchasing advance tickets from any cast member or at the Hopedale Village Building weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets also may be purchased by calling (740) 937-2208 or (740) 937-2629. - Contributed
Hope Players Executive Director Andrew Pelegreen III, who is directing the musical comedy, said that a lot of new, mostly younger actors are participating in the production. Pelegreen noted there is a bit of a learning curve for those new to theater.
"Some of the newer people had to learn about the reasons we do the things we do in rehearsal," he said.
Pelegreen went on to say both experienced and new actors are working well together.
"All the cast, new and more experienced, are courteous and patient with each other," he added.
Pelegreen said most of the cast members are in elementary, middle or high school, with only four actors in college or in the working world.
Several new cast members have been added to "Alice, Jr." since the players put out a call for more actors. Maggie Donohue is the latest, playing a royal cardsman, a flower and a member of the Rock Lobster Chorus.
There's also been an addition to the technical side of the production, with Jake Kasarda stepping into the role of technical production. '
Kasarda also has acted in a number of Hope Players' shows.
Pelegreen said he's grateful for the help provided by cast members' families to the production.
"In addition to getting their children to rehearsals, some parents have come forward and volunteered to help with sets and props, and other parents are willing to find materials for costumes and set decoration, while others help watch the younger children when they're not on stage," he said.
Pelegreen added the costumes for "Alice Jr." are a particular challenge.
"We didn't have to rent anything, although we purchased the costumes and wigs for Alice herself over the Internet," he said.
Pelegreen went on to say that "Most of the actors are responsible for their own costumes, but Margaret Richardson made the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum costumes and the Royal Cardsmen's uniforms."
He noted some of the costumes have been adapted from previous shows.
"The Mad Hatter's costume was repurposed by Darlene Huebner from the costume she made for the title character in 'Willy Wonka.'" Pelegreen added that Huebner also is creating the March Hare's costume for "Alice Jr."
Pelegreen said that other family members and cast members are working on costumes, too.
"Janice Moreland is obtaining materials and cutting out patterns for the Queen of Hearts' costume; Skyer Dye is creating his own Dodo Bird Costume; and Cerra Atkins is creating flowers from umbrellas for one of the big production numbers," he said.
Advance tickets for "Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr." are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Prices at the door are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Advance tickets are available from any cast member or at the Hopedale Village Building weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets also may be purchased by calling Hope Players President Donna Runt at (740) 937-2208 or Pelegreen at (740) 937-2629.
The Hope Players are dedicated to presenting family-friendly community theater for area residents. For information, go to www.hopeplayers.org.