'Disney's Alice in Wonderland, Jr.' by Warner Theatre Center for Arts Education Summer Arts Program

'Disney's Alice in Wonderland, Jr.' by Warner Theatre Center for Arts Education Summer Arts Program

Nancy Sasso Janis

  • OnStage Connecticut Critic
  • Connecticut Critics Circle

Torrington, CT - The Warner Theatre Center for Arts Education Summer Arts Program wrapped up just two weeks of camp/rehearsal to present a relatively short production of ‘Disney’s Alice of Wonderland, Jr.’ Program Director Isabel Carrington deemed it “a feat’ to put together a 90-minute show (with one intermission) in just nine days after auditions are held on the first day of camp, but director/choreographer Katie Brunetto managed to do just that with over 60 talented campers. “This show is full of fun and zany characters and our cast had no problem bringing them to life on stage,” wrote their proud director.

Beckie Wallace and Lynn Beard served as music directors; the music track provided for the show was especially cute and contained some Disney riffs to accent the ‘Alice’ soundtrack that included “I’m Late,” “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” and “The Unbirthday Song.” There were also some cheeky references to the classic Alice Disney movie. The fabulous costumes were designed by the director, Catherine MacKay and Gwen Mileti. This team also coordinated the whimsical props that included small umbrellas, large paper flowers and plastic leis. I got to sit behind the sound guru Chris LaPlante and Les Ober and Connor Picard designed the lighting.

Even the colorful graphics on screens were overshadowed by the impressive video credits that rolled at the beginning of the performance. They rivaled any older Disney movie and must have made the campers feel pretty special.

There were three Cheshire Cats that commented singly and together on the quickly-moving proceedings. Autumn Hartley, Rachel Pass and Shauna Llamas looked great in pink and black. Emma Wallace played well the perennially late White Rabbit who is in constant motion, and Madeline Colasanto was lovely as the giant, mini and average-sized Alice. Riley Delaney was the crazy Mad Hatter with Conio Lopardo as the March Hair. 

Jane Lilly played Alice’s sister Mathilda and Nola Schaller was adorable as the little white Elvis-inspired Dormouse. Colin Quigley was strong in the role of the Dodo Bird captain. Katie Locascio was the regal Queen of Hearts and John Minio was her king. Maggie Eberle brought sass to the role of the Caterpillar and everyone enjoyed the bumbling antics of Tweedle Dee (Gabriel Schaul) and Tweedle Dum (Nick Nadeau.) Kudos to the girls in the garden and everyone in the large ensemble. For one number, the chorus was divided into halves to allow the dancers to have room to move. My favorite ensemble number was the complicated tea party celebrating the unbirthdays that opened the second act.

The large group of campers worked together well in a very short time to bring the musical to life. It is based on the 1951 Disney film and the two books by Lewis Carroll. 

Congratulations to the adult team that worked with these budding young actors. Sponsors of the WTCAE include Lake Compounce, Cuties Pies, All-Star Transportation and XL Catlin.

Photos by Beckie Wallace

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