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A journey in two acts

March 24, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

FREDERICK, Md. - Other Voices Inc.'s production of "Alice in Wonderland" is more than a metaphorical journey following Alice from childhood to being adolescence, said Charlie Smith, who adapted Lewis Carroll's story.

"I wanted to have a story that was symbolic of the journey that the people in the (Dance Unlimited Repertory) Company take," Smith said.

Company members might start as young as 5 or 6 years old and stay with the Frederick dance company until they are 16 or 18, Smith said.

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Since "Alice in Wonderland" is the company's signature piece - performed annually - members grow up through the various roles.

This year's Alice, Katie Heilman, played a flower when she was a little girl.

The company is performing its ninth year of "Alice in Wonderland" at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in downtown Frederick this Friday and Saturday.

Audience members, many of whom return year after year, can watch the dancers grow and progress.

Smith said he freely adapted Carroll's classic.

Told through acting and dancing, the story starts Alice off on her surreal journey by falling through a toy store window rather than down a hole, Smith said.

During her voyage, characters from the opening scene turn up as characters such as the Cheshire Cat, who represents Alice as her adult self, Smith said.

The performance includes ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance, choreographed and directed by Donna Grim. Smith directs the acting scenes.

In addition to 40 youths from Dance Unlimited Repertory Company, there are adult performers, including New York actress Jenn Andersen as the Red Queen and "Artscape" television hostess Susan Thornton as the Cheshire Cat, Smith said.

The company's mission includes having the children mentor one another. Also, others are brought in to mentor them, Smith said. Young performers can talk to Andersen about her audition and work experience and learn from watching her work, he said.

Smith emphasized that people of all ages have enjoyed the company's production of "Alice in Wonderland" during the years. While the children are excited by the visuals, the adults understand the dialogue's subtext and laugh, he said.

"It's fun for us to watch the different audiences and see what they get out of it," Smith said.

The two-act performance is about 90 minutes, including intermission.




If you go ...


WHAT: Other Voices Inc.'s production of "Alice in Wonderland," performed by Dance Unlimited Repertory Company.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 25; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26.

WHERE: Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, Md.

COST: Admission is $12. For ticket information, call 301-228-2828.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 70 west to the Frederick exit for Market Street. Turn right on Md. 355 north and go about one mile. Turn left onto Patrick Street. The Weinberg Center is on the left. Parking is in a garage off Court Street or along the street.




Partial cast and crew for 'Alice in Wonderland'


Cast

Katie Heilman as Alice

Bubby Lewis as Madman/Mad Hatter

Jenn Andersen as Red Queen

Susan Thornton as Cheshire Cat

Joann Lee as White Queen

Crew

Donna Grim is choreographer and dance director

Charlie Smith adapted the script and is acting director

Susan Palmer-Purtee is stage manager

Lesley Vandever is in charge of lighting

Jill Philabaum is production manager

Sue Greene is in charge of production design

Libby Tringali is in charge of costumes

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