‘The New Adventures of Alice in Wonderland’ at Other Voices Productions at The Weinberg Center by Mike Spain

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Other Voices Productions’ presentation of The New Adventures of Alice in Wonderland at the Weinberg Center for the Arts has it all – a large cast, special guests, dancers, spectacular lights, changing sets, moving props, and a wonderful venue. Director Susan Thornton ties it all together flawlessly. Donna B. Grim makes sure the dancers don’t miss a beat with her expert choreography. The cast includes children, teenagers, enhanced with some of the area’s better actors. The show delivers magical entertainment for the entire family.

The Cheshire Cat, played (Susan Thornton). Photo by Ed Tilmont.
The Cheshire Cat, (Susan Thornton). Photo by Ed Tilmont.

Sam Carlson coaxed several “awes” and “wows” from my five year-old daughter with his lighting design. Lighting highlights include the moving Cheshire Cat’s grin in the first act and the impressive light show in the second act. Overall, Ben Harris did  a great job with the sound. The music is mixed well, and everyone could hear every word spoken on the stage.

The props and sets committee had to be pleased with the way the stage looked. They utilized a big screen at the back of the stage to change the backdrop of the set. They had trees and clouds that would drop down from the rigging. They also had moveable props including croquet pieces, mushrooms, and tunnels. Rick Marcellino chaired the committee.

Lena Janes showed off her acting and dancing skills as Alice, and my daughter and loved her costume designed by Joy Ellis. Lena’s voice was beautiful and he projection was impressive as she took the udience with her on her journey from the city, to Wonderland, and back.

Julie Herber and Joann Lee were fabulous as the Queens. “Cupcake Wars” was a hoot as they portrayed rival pastry chefs in the city before Alice began her journey to Wonderland. In Wonderland, they had numerous highlights including “When Alice Meets the Red and White Queens.” The rivalry was so real looking and hysterical, and the colorful costumes Joy Ellis created with Arom Harris were wonderful.

Not only did Susan Thornton direct the show, but she also performed the role of the Cheshire Cat. She was purr-fect as she was able to get a cat’s eye view of the action from her perch on a wall in several scenes. My daughter and I really liked he Cheshire Cat costume and how they were able to make her tail move.

The Hatterettes dance around the Mad Hatter as the Cheshire Cat looks on.  Photo by Ed Tilmont.
The Hatterettes dance around the Mad Hatter as the Cheshire Cat looks on. Photo by Ed Tilmont.

We also enjoyed Kerrynton Jones’ hoppin’ good performance as the White Rabbit, and her interplay with Janes’ Alice throughout the production. I was amazed by her ability to walk on her hands during the “City Life” scene. Charley Bennent was  adorable as the Dormouse, as was Kayla McMahon’s Unicorn, particularly her dancing in the “Alice Meets the Unicorn” scene.

And then there were Carolyn Dingee and Kiersten Gasemy as the entertaining Tweedledee and Tweedledum, oozing with charm, as they portrayed Alice’s sisters. Amanda Patten gave a memorable performance as The Duchess, and we both enjoyed Issabella Marcellino (The March Hare) and Isabella Tilmont (the Umbrella Lady and Lead Rain Storm).

Our favorite scenes? “The Flowers, where the adorable and cute children were in their flower costumes, as well as The Cupcakes, the Croquet Flamingoes, the Cards, the Chess pieces, the Rain Corps, the Cheshire Kittens, and the Subway Arches and Stairs. So many to choose from!

Alice in Wonderland wouldn’t be the same without The Mad Hatter and Jeremy Trammelle was so entertaining, especially in the second act. Jeremy Trammelle made an entertaining Mad Hatter. He definitely was the highlight of the second act.  My daughter was surprised and thrilled by the graffiti shooting out of his hat during the song “Take Time for Tea.”

Although some of the numbers went on a bit too long, they did show off the  remarkable dancing talents from Dance Unlimited Repertory Company. The dancers were able to keep my daughter’s attention throughout the show including the longer numbers.

Bill Adkins
Poster by Bill Adkins.

The New Adventures of Alice in Wonderland is a great show that the whole family will enjoy. The cast is filled with teenagers and kids who will appeal to children who love to see people closer to their age performing. The costumes and lights were some of the best I have seen in a theatrical performance in a while. The cast was very friendly as they stayed after the show ended, signed autographs, and greeted fans in the lobby. My daughter was really excited and enjoyed meeting the cast and collecting all of their autographs.

Luckily you have one more chance tonight at 7:30 PM to see this family holiday show, so hop over to The Weinberg Center and bring the kids!

Running time: Approximately two hours, with one 15-minute intermission.

The New Adventures of Alice in Wonderland has one final performance TONIGHT at 7:30 P.M. at The Weinberg Center – 20 West Patrick Street in Frederick, Maryland. Tickets can be ordered online, or by calling (301) 600-2828.