Pushcart Players Bringing ALICE IN WONDERLAND to SOPAC, 4/11

By: Apr. 01, 2015
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Pushcart Players, New Jersey's Emmy-nominated and award-winning theater for young audiences performs "Alice in Wonderland" at South Orange Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 11 at 2:00 pm. The performance offers a tea party immediately following, where cast members will visit new found friends enjoying cupcakes, assorted treats, lemonade, punch and photo opportunities.

"Alice in Wonderland" is re-imagined and designed by Pushcart Players co-founder Ruth Fost, and directed by artistic director Paul Whelihan. Filled with madcap characters and pure nonsense, this tale about a curious and proactive young girl has enchanted readers for many generations. Cleverly adapted from Lewis Carroll's classic books, Pushcart's musical boasts spectacular scenic elements, playfully designed puppets and whimsical orchestrations by Tony and Drama Desk award-winner Larry Hochman.

"'Alice...' is perhaps one of the best-known stories for children," said Whelihan. "People often view it as a 'girl's story' and mostly appropriate for 'little kids.' But it's so much more than that, especially with Pushcart's dynamic spin. Ours is a journey of adolescent discovery. It crosses gender and age lines, and is funny and thought-provoking all at once."

Pushcart has been stirring up serious fun for 41 years. Since 1974, the company's traveled over 2 million miles nationally and abroad to serve more than 8 million children and their families with meaningful theater. >From the White House in the nation's capital to the little red schoolhouse in the nation's rural sprawl, Pushcart performances are noted for excellence and innovation. A troupe of professional Equity actors and stage managers perform.

The "Alice in Wonderland" cast includes Stacie Gogo (Alice), JD Lynch (Mad Hatter, et.al.), James Holden (Cheshire Cat, et.al.), and Lyndsey Brown / Maggie Graham (Red Queen, et.al.). Gogo has performed off-Broadway, in national tours and regionally. She played Penny Pingleton in Westchester Broadway Theatre's "Hairspray," and performed in Surflight Theatre's "Grease." Lynch is a graduate of DeSales University with a degree in theatre/communications. He has performed extensively in shows Off Broadway and throughout the country.

James Holden played Uncle Ernie in West Virginia Public Theatre's production of "The Who's Tommy." In New York, he played the loveable cop Flapjack in both "Doubles Crossed" and the sequel "Doubles Crossed: The Ballad of Rodrigo," both with Funny...Sheesh Productions. Holden can be seen on television in "Celebrity Ghost Stories," "I'd Kill for You," and "Redrum." Lyndsey Brown portrayed Christine in "Phantom..." at the Bucks County Playhouse (PA), Lily in "The Secret Garden" and Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" at The Growing Stage (NJ), Beth in "Little Women" and Marsinah in "Kismet" at The Pocono Playhouse. Maggie Graham continues to perform her one-woman cabaret show "Carol Channeling" in venues throughout Manhattan (including Rose's Turn, The Triad and Joe's Pub). Graham's roles in regional theaters throughout the tri-state area include Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeny Todd," Ursula in "The Little Mermaid" and Cinderella in "Into the Woods" with Running Rabbit Theater.

Paul Whelihan directs, stage-manages and performs off-Broadway (47th Street Theater, 59 East 59 Theatres, NY Fringe Festival, 54 Below) and regionally (Royal Poincianna Playhouse, Broward Center for the Arts, Centenary Stage, The Growing Stage, Luna Stage Company, Forum Cultural Arts Center, Quillo Arts Center, Dreamcatcher Rep) in musicals, dramas, original works and locally produced television, film and web series projects.

Ruth Fost creates the scripts, designs the sets, builds the costumes and inspires the company to discover new frontiers in educational theater. Susie Paplow choreographs "Alice in Wonderland." Paplow has created the dance for the majority of Pushcart's shows, and has performed with the company, as well as in theaters throughout the eastern seaboard.

Larry Hochman won the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his co-orchestration of "The Book of Mormon." His orchestrations include Broadway's "Monty Python's Spamalot," "The Addams Family" and "Jane Eyre." Hochman recently returned for one performance to the orchestra of Broadway's revival of "Pippin," celebrating the 40th anniversary of his first "gig" in a Broadway pit!

Music for "Alice in Wonderland" is by Carole Wechter, a co-founder of Pushcart Players and the company's most prolific composer to date. Wechter was a singer and guitarist with a folk trio, and performed in regional theater before dedicating herself full-time to Pushcart for 16 years as a writer, composer, performer and administrator. Original puppets for "Alice in Wonderland" are created by Terrence P. Burnett.

Pushcart Players' innovative scenery, complete lighting and sound systems make performances adaptable to any location. Study guides and other supplemental materials enhance the educational benefits. An illustrated book of "Pushcart's Alice in Wonderland" highlights the production's significant moments and offers further arts related activities (available on amazon.com).

Tickets for the Saturday April 11th performance of "Alice in Wonderland" at South Orange Performing Arts Center can be reserved online: http://sopacnow.org/tickets/kids or by calling 973-313-2787.

For further information on this or any of Pushcart's programs and services, contact Pushcart Players at 973.857.1115, or visit www.pushcartplayers.org.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gerry Goodstein


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