Performing Lakeside Acting Youth’s production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ a musical triumph

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Beginning rehearsals in October, the Performing Lakeside Acting Youth (PLAY) executed an impeccable opening night performance of Walt Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland.” With a sold out crowd and the first of six performances between Feb. 27 and March 2 at the Lakeside Middle School Theater, youth kindergarten to high school showed the audience just how musical theater is done.

Beginning rehearsals in October, the Performing Lakeside Acting Youth (PLAY) executed an impeccable opening night performance of Walt Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland.” With a sold out crowd and the first of six performances between Feb. 27 and March 2 at the Lakeside Middle School Theater, youth kindergarten to high school showed the audience just how musical theater is done.

On opening night, Alice, played by Cari Callen led the audience through the magical and weird world where nothing makes sense with the ease of an experienced actor. Amber Welch as the Cheshire Cat was ear to ear grins as her not so trusty sidekick, leading Alice on her bizarre adventure. But neither of them stole the show. The entire cast and crew pulled this whimsical tale together and captivated the audience from curtain up to curtain down.

PLAY is very unique in its concept and does everything possible to give every actor as much stage time as possible, giving them experience and most important, the workmanship of a team.

Wendie Ward, one of 10 teachers that helped direct the production said this was the first performance for many of the young actors. PLAY is an open group for Lakeside’s youth from fourth grade and up, and in some instances, such as this takes on much younger actors.

“Seeing the relationships that develop between the youngest to oldest students here is amazing,” she said. 

Ward said that they double most characters, giving more students the chance to act a role. Ike Davis, 13, said this was his first performance in which he acted as the King of Hearts and on off nights, a deer. He said performing the King was real acting because in the play he is a “wimp” and is consistently battered by the Queen of Hearts, not at all like his own personality.

Sabrina Curry, 16, said she is in her ninth year with PLAY. As stage crew boss she is now passing on her knowledge to the younger students learning how to deal with sets, lighting and everything in between to make sure that the show goes on.

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