Emma Wayne stars as Little Alice in the Center for the Arts production of Alice in Wonderland Jr.
Murfreesboro heads through the looking glass in August with a cast of some 40 youths supported by an active team of parents who have given the term “family theater” a literal meaning.
“Alice in Wonderland Jr.,” an abridged version of the original Disney musical, will run for 12 performances through Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Murfreesboro Center for the Arts.
“Our cast ranges in age from almost kindergarten to recent high-school graduates,” director Kim Powers said.
As for the extraordinary parental involvement, “This is what I love about a production like ‘Alice’. It truly is a community of people working their hardest toward a common goal -- in this case to create Wonderland on the stage in such a way that our audiences can believe they are there with us. It’s fulfilling to see a show that results from everyone’s collaborative effort.”
While the cast members were learning lines and developing their characters the past two months, the parents’ behind-the-scenes work was going on at a steady pace.
In just two short weeks, stage managers Jennifer Rice and Krissa Seifert led a team that turned mops and pool noodles into giant paint brushes and crafted lobster claws from red oven mitts. In addition, clever stitching turned plain white tee shirts into costumes for the dancing Cardsmen, and a few well-placed eyes and chenille stems made lobster heads out of baseball caps.
“Our cast parents are heavily involved in the process,” Rice said. “They have cut out countless shapes and numbers for our Cardsmen costumes, helped us assemble no-sew tutus for our littlest flowers, and worked with our set designer on scenery and stage pieces.”
Scenery artist Ann Moreland said she started designing the set components even before cast auditions in June, as soon as she understood Powers’ vision for the show.
“Parents have been wonderful about offering to help,” she said. “Several moms and dads have spent many rehearsal hours making hundreds of red and white roses from crepe paper streamers for the Queen’s garden.”
A team of parents is also making elaborate plans for a luncheon called ”The Unbirthday Party” at 12:30 p.m. before each Saturday matinee. Children can have their photo made with Alice and the Mad Hatter, create keepsakes to take home, enjoy a yummy lunch and party games, and top it off with a unique cake.
Evening shows on Friday and Saturday start at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday matinees start at 2 p.m.
Tickets are available by phone at 615-904-2787, in person at the Center for the Arts, or online at www.boroarts.org. Prices are $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, students and military, and $9 for children 12 years old and younger. Combined “Unbirthday party” lunch and Saturday matinee tickets are $19, $17 and $15 respectively.