Brightside Theatre presents ‘Alice in Wonderland’
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media March 14, 2013 11:22AM
‘Alice in Wonderland’
♦ March 16-17
♦ Madden Theatre, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville
♦ Tickets, $8-$10
♦ (630) 447-8497
Updated: March 15, 2013 10:32AM
The Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat will invade North Central College this weekend.
Naperville’s BrightSide Theatre presents Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland,” with performances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. March 16 and 6 p.m. March 17 at North Central’s Madden Theatre.
It is directed by Jeffrey Cass and is a fast-paced stage adaptation featuring updated dialogue and new arrangements of familiar songs such as “I’m Late,” “The Un-birthday Song” and “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.”
The cast consists of seven children ages 8 to 12, and since “Alice” has many more characters than that, each child is onstage for most of the show playing several roles in different costumes, Cass said.
“We’re really excited about it and they’ve all been having a great time,” he said.
It’s a one-hour full production, with lights, sets and costumes; as well as music and dancing.
“There’s a lot of music in it,” he said. “They took the songs from the music and revamped the score so … it’s more modern. And that’s really been exciting for the kids because it’s easy for the kids to connect to it. Like the Caterpillar is on the verge of almost rapping at one point. And the flowers in the garden are a girl group.”
These changes allowed the young actors to embrace the material and latch onto it easily, he said, although most were already familiar with the basic story.
Cass has previous experience working with children’s theater, and finds working with his young charges a refreshing change from directing adults.
“They just play. They’re so willing to just play, whereas adult actors sometimes have hang-ups and it’s hard to get them to be imaginative or to be over the top or a little silly,” he said. “The kids are there and they’re ready and raring to go, and they don’t have those blockages that you sometimes face with adult actors. For me, it’s refreshing. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is not serious material, so it’s been a lot of fun.”
The songs are short and the dialogue fast-paced, so it will be a quick ride for audiences, he said.
“They should expect to see an ensemble of kids … using their imaginations and diving into these over-the-top characters from the classic story of ‘Alice in Wonderland.’”