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Prince George’s Little Theatre Alice in Wonderland

By • May 12th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Alice in Wonderland
Prince George’s Little Theatre
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
$15/$10 for Students/Seniors/$5 for 12 and under
Playing through May 16th
Reviewed May 9th, 2009

This is a very kid-friendly version of the timeless tale written almost 150 years ago by Lewis Carroll (the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). Adapted by Anne Coulter Martens 100 years later, the play sports a large cast (this one is just shy of 30). Anyone familiar with Carroll’s book or with the animated Disney version will recognize most of the vignettes and characters. Relatively elaborate fantasy costumes and make-up, especially for the Caterpillar and Gryphon, help set the scene.

Directed by Jo Rake for Prince George’s Little Theatre, the play is short and clearly targeted toward the younger crowd. Martens’ work includes adaptations of The Wizard of Oz and others for teens and schoolchildren. Standout performances in this “Alice…” include the Cook (Shemika Berry) and Duchess (Tracey Collier), Mad Hatter (David Birkenbilt) and March Hare (Jeffrey Lesniak), Mock Turtle (Ken Kienas) and Gryphon (London Orcurio).

I found the play to be just a tad long (80 minutes, with one 15 minute intermission), and the resemblance to the Disney Cheshire Cat somewhat distracting, but overall I thought it was a fine piece to take children of any age with the ability to sit still for more than a half-hour.

Director’s Notes

My decision to submit a family production to PGLT was made last season, while playing in PGLT’s Heidi. Ah, but which one? What about Alice in Wonderland? Here was a story known by most young people (and adults) even if they hadn’t read Lewis Carroll’s book. But which script? There are countless available. Some aimed at adult audiences. Some were filled with Looking Glass characters not well known to children. Others were just “not right.” Then I read Anne Coulter Martens’ script. Here was a play filled with recognizable characters, a minimalist set, flexible casting, and a running time long enough to tell the story but short enough to keep the attention of the younger children. My wonderful cast has worked hard to bring the story to life – and seems to have a lot of fun doing it. Be prepared for some surprises. “Welcome to Wonderland!”

Photographs

Chris Dong as Caterpillar and Cassie Youhouse as Alice Cassie Youhouse as Alice and Callie Seaman as Cheshire Cat
Chris Dong as Caterpillar and Cassie Youhouse as Alice
Cassie Youhouse as Alice and Callie Seaman as Cheshire Cat
David Berkenbilt as Mad Hatter, Josiah Lee as Dormouse, Jeff Lesniak as Cassie Youhouse as Alice, Marianne Guevara as Queen of Hearts, Ron
David Berkenbilt as Mad Hatter, Josiah Lee as Dormouse, Jeff Lesniak as
Cassie Youhouse as Alice, Marianne Guevara as Queen of Hearts, Ron
 
 

Cast

  • Cheshire Cat: Callie Seaman
  • White Rabbit: Wayne Fox II
  • Alice: Cassie Youhouse (Amber Youhouse, May 9)
  • Soldiers: Emily Cooksey, Pamela Northrup, Rachel Robbins
  • Caterpillar: Christopher Dong
  • Frog Footman: Natalie Daelemans
  • Cook: Shemika Berry
  • Duchess: Tracey Collier
  • Flower/Heart Children: Nile Blass, Jade Kienas, Fallon Orcurto, Hallie Parrott, Ashley Powell, Bena Williams
  • March Hare: Jeffrey Lesniak
  • Mad Hatter: David Birkenbilt
  • Dormouse: Josiah Lee
  • Court Ladies: Emily Cooksey, Jazmin Kienas, Katie Powell
  • Queen of Hearts: Marianne Guervara
  • King of Hearst: Ron Vardiman
  • Knave of Hearts: Silas Larson
  • Executioner: Jimmy Hennigan
  • Two: Amber Youhouse (Katie Powell, May 9)
  • Five: Rebecca Guevara (Jazmin Kienas, May 9)
  • Seven: Natalie Daelemans
  • Mock Turtle: Ken Kienas
  • Gryphon: London Orcurto

Crew:

  • Director: Jo Rake
  • Producer: Daniel Lavagna
  • Assistant Producer: Mike O’Donnell
  • Stage Manager: Geoff Rake
  • Choreography: Jo Rake
  • Set Design: Daniel Lavagna, Garrett Hyde
  • Set Construction: Cast, Crew, Members and Friends of PGLT
  • Scenic Design: Heather Quinn, Eddie Arredondo
  • Set Painting: Mary Seng, Bob Thompson, Callie Seaman, Marianne Guevara, Rebecca Guevara
  • Lighting Design: Garrett Hyde
  • Sound Design: Tyler Baldwin
  • Bowie Playhouse Theatre Technicians: Al Chopey, Pete Dursin, Garrett Hyde
  • Properties: Mike O’Donnell, Shemika Berry, David Berkenbilt
  • Costume Design: Jo Rake
  • Costume Construction: Rose English-Arredondo, Jo Rake, Roney Shawe, Rachel Robbins, Kathy Parrott, Jenna Jones, Jo Deutsch
  • Make Up Design: Shemika Berry
  • Transportation Chief: Keith Brown
  • Front of House Manager: Mike O’Donnell
  • House Manager: Roy Peterson
  • Box Office Manager: Sarah Potter Robbins
  • Box Office Asssistant: Richard Robbins
  • Lobby Display: Jenna Jones
  • Ticket Takers/Ushers: Friends of PGLT
  • Publicity: Gail Beynon, Roy Peterson
  • Web Site (www.pglt.org): Keith Belk
  • Photography: Jeffrey Lesniak
  • Program Cover/Publicity Artwork: Michele Stinson
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is founder and Artistic Director of OutOftheBlackBox Theatre Company (O2B2) and General Manager of the Greenbelt Arts Center. Since 2006 Betsy has worked as a director, producer, designer and more. Betsy has also worked with Washington Revels, Arena Stage, the now-defunct Harlequin Dinner Theatre and with community theatre companies both in Maryland and in upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. Through Hawkeswood Productions, Betsy produces archival performance videos and YouTube highlight spots.

One Response »

  1. Hi Betsy,
    I wanted to thank you for coming to see our show and for your good review. I am playing the Queen of Hearts and have had a great time playing this part! I have also really enjoyed my time with my daughter and with all the cast and crew! This is a very fun and amazing group of people! We sure hope to sell out our two final performances this weekend (Friday night 8 pm and Saturday 2 pm).
    Thanks again!
    Marianne Guevara