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Review: ALIEN8 at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts

Review: ALIEN8 at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts

Two more opportunities to see this immensely relatable and important show

ALiEN8 is a new musical with music and lyrics by Kate Brennan and book by David Lee White. Taking place in a small, midwestern town, ALiEN8 explores themes of family, friendship, prejudice, discrimination, acceptance, and communication. As the town attempts to recover from a devastating tornado, the residents begin to confront the dark past of their town, assisted by a stranger known as "8". 8 helps the town to uncover the uncomfortable parts of its past to set the stage for reconciliation. ALiEN8 does not shy away from difficult themes, and, in this way, is an immensely important and relatable show for today. Audiences can catch this show at DreamWrights Center for Community Arts through September 25th.

The script and music are brilliant, delving into issues that teens and families deal with every day with authentic dialogue and beautiful, emotion-filled music. This show comes to life under the leadership of Manny Tellado (director), Shana McCoy (music director), and Randi Sitler (choreographer). The stage is set to represent a high school gymnasium, and set changes are accomplished smoothly with the swift moving of chairs, tables, and flats to bring the audience to the principal's office, the band room, the Warren's dining room, and so forth. The costumes match each character's personality, adding delightful visual cues as to who each character is.

Several of the cast members take on multiple roles: Chloe Lanteign-Marrow, Charley Pero,Review: ALIEN8 at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts Elise Lanteign-Marrow, Jude Burk, Finch Milsten, and Julia Angeles. These young actors do a wonderful job portraying each character, changing not only their costumes, but also their body language and voices to fit each individual character. Jude Burk, Finch Milsten, Julia Angeles, and Chloe Lanteign-Marrow all play the character of 8. Having this character portrayed by actors of varying ages, genders, and ethnicities helps to truly capture the idea that 8 is different, impossible to describe, and mysterious. Their performance as 8 is mesmerizing, and the character is particularly well-highlighted in the song "Inside Out", which showcases each actor's vocal ability and emotional range.

Izzy Masquelier, Marliene Perez, and Ryan Snider take the stage as Principal Foster, Erica Tanner, and Mr. Brasfield. Masquelier's Foster is a no-nonsense, firm but compassionate leader trying to do her best in a strange situation. Perez and Snider are both a little stiff in their roles, but in their scenes together this helps to emphasize their awkward discomfort around one another (the result of a previously failed relationship). Their performance of "Co-Creators of the 21st Century" is adorable.

Pastor and Janet Warren are played by Manny Tellado and Amanda Lancaster. Tellado and Lancaster have wonderfully expressive faces, creating intensely emotional scenes as their characters attempt to reconcile with themselves, with one another and with their daughter Anna, while dealing with the suicide of their other child.

Review: ALIEN8 at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts Hadley Qualls, Joel Perez, Nala Yates, Sophia Cherwinski, Jay McKinnon, and Hannah Lancaster portray high school students Anna Warren, Ethan, Emily, Hayley, Zach, and Alex. These young actors are simply incredible. They play their roles with authenticity and emotional depth, drawing the audience into the story. Their energy is fantastic, as they clearly pour their whole hearts into their performances. McKinnon, Yates, and Qualls give a hard-hitting performance of "What I Mean", bringing to light one of the most difficult aspects of human existence-the feeling that no one can truly understand or know who we are. The harmonies and blend of voices on "What I Mean" is virtually flawless, making it one of the best vocal performances of the evening. Yates showcases her powerhouse vocals in "Rockstar" at the beginning of Act II. Qualls brings the audience to tears in her performances of "Fallen Angels" and "Ready for Her", with her beautiful, clear, and emotional vocals. Lancaster, an accomplished dancer, takes the spotlight in her role as Alex as the solo dancer during "Ready for Her". This dance performance, as well as the dance executed by Chloe Lanteign-Marrow (8) and Hadley Qualls (Anna Warren) during "Civil War" were definitely highlights in this production.

The ensemble is rounded out with Ocean Aquino, Olivia Bingham, V Desautels, Ana Farah, Helena Farah, Rhea Flores, Mackenzie Harr, Mallory McVey, Rion Nogel, Kellan Smith, and Daphne Willis. The harmonies in this show are beautiful, and the entire cast handles them well. The final song of the show, "Is Anybody Out There?", brings the audience to tears as it gives voice to the most profound questions and yearnings of the human condition. Hearing this group of performers sing "I am enough" packs an emotional punch that leaves the audience breathless.

Audiences have two more opportunities to see ALiEN8 at DreamWrights. Don't miss out on this incredible production. Visit®id=194& for show and ticket information.

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From This Author - Andrea Stephenson

Andrea Stephenson’s love of music and theatre was nurtured by her parents. She started performing as a singer and actor in elementary school, and her passion for the performing arts grew thro... (read more about this author)

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