Arts & Entertainment

'Alice in Wonderland' Comes to MMS

Back row left to right: Mackenzie Gordon; Emma Lobbers; Tommy Joia; Jack Byrnes; Adriana Capri; Caitlin Anderson; Front row: Juliana Balzano; Rebekah Lazar and Moira Kelly Credits: Gabrielle Bilik

MAHOPAC, N.Y.— For its 15th anniversary performance, Mahopac Middle School Theater Company is inviting the community down the rabbit hole for its first-ever rendition of Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

Heather Palewick, musical director and chorus teacher at Mahopac Middle School, said that while the school has always performed plays, 15 years ago a stage was built that can accommodate larger shows and musicals and they have been producing them ever since.

This show features the largest set they have ever had, said Palewick.

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“We have the luxury of using our wonderful art department,” she said.

With the help of some teacher volunteers, the play is mostly student-produced.

“It really is a school-wide event,” Palewick said.

Palewick said that when choosing this play, she took into consideration the fact that it was a Disney show.

“We think the community and families enjoy it when we do Disney shows, she said. “We sell out every time.”

Another factor she considered was the size of the cast. She said she liked the idea of an “ensemble cast.”

“ There is not one lead,” she said. “ Everybody has got a really important part to play.”

For instance, Mahopac’s rendition will feature three Alices: One “regular” Alice; one “small” Alice (for after she drinks the potion); and one “tall” Alice for when she eats the cookie.

There will also be three Cheshire Cats to add to the play’s imaginative storylines.

Adriana Capri, who will be playing “regular” Alice, said she can relate to her character.

“She looks my age and we’re both very polite,” Capri said. “I wouldn’t have eaten the cookie though.”

Capri said audiences can look forward to one of her personal favorite scenes when Alice first meets the Tweedles.

“They’re so funny” she said.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, who will be portrayed by Emma Lubbers and Mackenzie Gordon, said that’s their favorite scene as well.

“I think we have performed a pretty good dynamic,” Gordon said.

The two, who were friends prior to landing their “Alice” roles, said their high-energy personalities lend to the energy the parts demand.

The two revealed that there will be some room for interaction during the show that the audience will enjoy especially during the scene where they sing, “ Painting the Roses Red.”

Another fan favorite, portrayed by Tommy Joia, is the Caterpillar.

“He helps Alice become happy after the flowers are rude,” Joia said.

Joia, whose previous roles include the Genie in Disney’s “Aladdin,” is familiar with having a comical role.

He said showgoers will love the music and thinks the audience will get a sense of how much the cast enjoys performing it.

“It’s nice to be with friends and laugh, he said.Caitlin Anderson, who plays the Queen of Hearts, agreed.

“You get to sing and dance with all your friends,” Anderson said. “It’s fun to be in something so crazy and fun. It’s so different from any other movie that Disney has created.”

For Palewick and the other teachers who assist with the play, seeing the kids outside of the confines of the classroom can be very rewarding.

“Many times a kid who struggles academically shines artistically,” she said. “It’s a socially awkward age. The kids like being someone else and here they can step out of their comfort zones in a safe environment.”

Curtain times for “Alice in Wonderland” are April 15 at 7 p.m., and April 16 at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Middle School. Tickets are $5 at the door.

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