DISNEY'S ALICE IN WONDERLAND, JRMusic and Lyrics by Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard, Oliver Wallace, Cy Coban, Allie Wrube, Ray Gilbert, Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston
Production Manager - Dave McManus
Technical Director - Chad May
Scenic Artist / Master Carpenter - Winston Ragle
Company Manager - Lindsay Atkinson
Hair & Make-up - Catherine Rogers
Alice - Kenady Shope
Little Alice - Hayley Lenamon
Mad Hatter/Dodo - Christopher J. Deaton
Queen of Hearts - Deborah Brown
Tweedle Dee/Tweedle Dum - David Coffee
Cheshire Cat - Aubrey Adams
Caterpillar - Akron Watson
White Rabbit - Tiffany Stringer
March Hare/Door Knob/Mathilda - Lauren Weik
Reviewed Performance: 3/31/2012
Reviewed by Kayla Barrett, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Alice in Wonderland Jr. features such Disney classics as "I'm Late", "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" and "The Un-Birthday Song" and includes other music styles like Disco Funk and Jazz. Alice, played by Kenady Shope, and Little Alice, played by Hayley Lenamon, takes you on a fantasy adventure you won't soon forget.
The stage itself is captivating with its many playing levels, beautifully hand painted proscenium arch in the style of a stained looking-glass, black and white stairs and a projection screen in the center that changes with the scenes. Scenic Artist and Master Carpenter, Winston Ragle, brings Wonderland to life with his design. The stage floor is elaborately painted in multi-colored checkered swirls and the word Wonderland inscribed in gold. The costumes are colorful and choreography interesting, both reflecting the different music styles.
White Rabbit is played by Tiffany Stringer whose young voice delights as she sings "I'm Late!" Her energy is animated and her mannerisms cute. Aubrey Adams plays the energetic and mysterious Cheshire Cat enticing Alice to explore questionable territories with resulting mishaps. Adams dances well and hits some impressive notes in the jazzy number "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat".
David Coffee is a hoot as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. He creates two absurd voices and matches them with silly movements and facial expressions to make up the hilarious duo. The Tweedles are dressed in one costume split down the middle in contrasting colors: Tweedle Dum in Red and Yellow and Tweedle Dee in Orange and Blue-- or is it the other way around? Alice and the Tweedles' interaction are as nonsensical and confusing as expected and highly entertaining!
The Caterpillar is another favorite Wonderland character, though for this adaptation the hookah is ditched and Caterpillar gets a whole new attitude. Akron Watson plays Caterpillar, donning a green wig and sporting a hip James Brown style. He leads the ensemble of flowers and mushrooms in "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" and makes reference to Sugarhill Gang's classic hip-hop song "Rapper's Delight" ("I said a Zip-Zip-Zip-A-Dee-Doo..."). Watson gives Caterpillar a whole new cool, bringing soul into the character and offering advice to Alice: "You gotta tap into your inner fa-bu-locity!"
Christopher J. Deaton is wisely cast as Mad Hatter. He and Lauren Weik as the March Hare together make a ridiculous pair! Deaton has perfected Mad Hatter's wickedly insane laugh and bizarre speech pattern and it is contagious when he and March Hare crack up, then abruptly stop in an awkward comical silence.
The ensemble is successful in presenting a hilariously mad un-birthday party complete with mismatched chairs, funny props and sound effects.
Deborah Brown makes a stand out performance in her role as Queen of Hearts. She wears a wonderfully dramatic costume and looks the part of the moody queen. She hushes the audience when we applaud Alice and sports a villainous scowl. Her royal grouchiness is amusing. We all know the basic story of Alice in Wonderland, how important a healthy imagination is and the message about being nobody but yourself.
Casa Manana brings a strikingly unique adaptation to the stage with this entertaining and professional cast. They will keep you laughing and humming along to this wonderfully enchanting absurdity!
Casa Manana, 3101 W Lancaster Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Performances through April 15th
Fridays at 7:00pm , Saturdays at 1:00pm & 5:00pm
Sundays at 2:00 pm
Box Office: (817) 332-2272