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Paynesville Press - March 12, 2003

Play turns wonderland topsy-turvy

By Jennifer E. Johnson

Turning a whimsical story on its head, a youth theater production of The New and Unusual Adventures of Alice in Wonderland promises to take Alice to places even more peculiar than before.

Royal Court of Hearts - photo by Jennifer E. Johnson Co-directed by Colleen Pelton and Sue Teicher, over 40 students from grades one through nine make up the cast. Produced through Community Education, the play provides all of the aspiring thespians with speaking roles.

In the youth theater production of "The New and Unusual Adventures of Alice in Wonderland," the Royal Family of Hearts now includes a punk-rock daughter along with her equally rebellious friends. Performances will be held on Friday, March 14, at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, March 15, at 1:30 p.m.

Though Pelton originally wrote the play with 34 parts in mind, the unexpected response prompted her to add at least a dozen more roles to accommodate interested kids. Each role has at least two lines. "Our philosophy is that everybody gets a part," said Pelton.

In this modern adaptation, Alice returns home after her time in Wonderland and no one believes her story. After convincing her friends to accompany her, they find themselves in the middle of a struggle for Wonderland between the Queen of Hearts and a greedy newcomer, Montressa.

Along with a motley band of characters - a punk rock princess, a gaggle of lawyers, a lively deck of cards, and a cameo or two - Alice finds her new adventure just as curious, and perhaps "curiouser."

Cast of Characters

  • Announcer: Bailey Gray
  • Alice #1: Ariel Jones
  • Alice #2: Kaitlin Burlingame
  • Gwen #1: Jessica Klein
  • Gwen #2: Lauren Vaske
  • Radar #1: Jackie Berg
  • Radar #2: Katrina Daby
  • Cat: Rheanne Zimmerman
  • Hatter: Ginelle Zimmerman
  • Rabbit #1: Kellen Andersen
  • Rabbit #2: Anna Currens
  • Tweedledee: Kendra Hengel
  • Tweedledum: Jackie Jo Skoglund
  • Montressa #1: Annie Bertram
  • Montressa #2: Karla Leitzman
  • King: Zachary Schwandt
  • Queen: Emily Mehr
  • Alexandra: Taylor Haag
  • Leo: Hayden Spaeth
  • Root Beer: Tarin Beireis
  • Stephie: Jessica Leverington
  • Taffy #1: Jayna Flanders
  • Taffy #2: Jackie Berg
  • Keely: Byrna Hendrickson
  • Slinky: Katie Svejkovsky
  • Blinky: Carly Lehmkuhl
  • Winky: Natasha Fangmeier
  • Lion: Susan Voss
  • Tin Man: Mason Marshall
  • Scarecrow: Amelia Malling
  • Messenger: Chelsea Janssen
  • Workman #1: Matthew Currens
  • Workman #2: Luke Leverington
  • Guard #1: Tyler Kortlever
  • Guard #2: Matthew Anderson
  • Crankquella: Jayna Flanders
  • Wizard: Jared Eickhoff
  • Audience #1: Devon Savage
  • Audience #2: Susan Voss
  • Audience #3: Tiffany Platou
  • Card #1: Rachael McCloud
  • Card #2: Baylee Lahr
  • Card #3: Taylor Loesch
  • Card #4: Leah Wander
  • Card #5: Ivy Nelson
  • Card #6: Emma Mogard
  • Card #7: McKenna Evans
  • Card #8: Jessica Johnson
  • Card #9: Randi Lehman
  • Co-Directors: Colleen Pelton and Sue Teicher
    Student Assistants: Susie Swyter, Sami Tierney, and Lindsay Pelton

    Performances will be held at the PAHS auditorium on Friday, March 14, at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, March 15, at 1:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served after the play on Friday evening.

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