Area Stage Company Presents ALICE IN WONDERLAND, JR.

Area Stage Company Presents ALICE IN WONDERLAND, JR.

The children's classic Alice in Wonderland becomes a surreal adventure in Area Stage Company's latest musical production for its youngest artists. Director and designer Giancarlo Rodaz's wildly re-imagined version of the Disney animated film, performed by a dynamic cast of child actors and featuring original costume and set designs, will captivate kids and adults alike with its dark, fantastical vision of a girl who grapples with a nonsensical world.

The show, featuring 27 children ages 6 to 10, plays March 9th to 18th at Area Stage Company in Coral Gables. Based on the 1951 Disney animated film and Lewis Carroll's original novel, Alice in Wonderland, Jr. features original and adapted music by Bryan Louiselle, with an adapted book and additional lyrics by David Simpatico.

In his third time directing Alice in Wonderland for ASC, Rodaz emphasizes the dark strangeness of the original story, which has largely been eclipsed by the sunny Disney cartoon. The show's child performers, Rodaz says, immediately understand a universe where the hapless girl is ordered about by the Mad Hatter, a giant talking cat, and a murderous queen, or transformed when she follows instructions to drink mysterious potions.

"People telling them to do things "just because" is in these kids' frame of reference," says Rodaz, who at 22 has an instinct for what appeals to both children and adults. "Alice is nonsensical, but it could be real life. It's about etiquette and rules, but they flip them around and it's really confusing. That's how Alice is treated. That's why kids like [the story.]"

Young people are also drawn to the ominous atmosphere that Alice in Wonderland shares with fairy tales and other classic children's literature.

"Alice spends a lot of time crying, everyone is really mean to her and Alice is mean back," Rodaz says. "It's important for kids' stories to have that element, because that's how the world is."

The young director's imaginative original costume and set designs will transform the traditional images of Alice in Wonderland. The imperious Queen of Hearts is a business woman in red suit and sunglasses. The Cheshire Cat, played by three girls, grins through teeth made of flapping books. When Alice 'grows' to giant size, a live video cam captures her looming over a dollhouse.

In keeping with ASC's mission to develop young talent, Rodaz often turns to his young cast for ideas. "Area Stage is all about doing shows that play to kids' strengths as much as possible," Rodaz says. "They're learning to use their creativity to solve problems. How do you do a caterpillar onstage? How would it walk? It's done by playing - which is how you solve problems."

"Kids tend to be more creative than adults. We try to promote that and keep it."

For over 28 years, Area Stage Company, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has staged award-winning, provocative, world-class theater productions. ASC has continuously presented a mix of contemporary plays, original new works, and classic musical theatre repertoire. As part of their mission to educate the next generation of theatre artists and patrons, they continually debut emerging, cutting-edge artists in the worlds of theatre, music, dance, and comedy. ASC now houses a professional theatre company, a professional-level conservatory for young, aspiring performers, and a theatre program catering to the special needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. Alice in Wonderland is the next in their series of professional-caliber student productions.

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