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home : premium content : news April 30, 2016


2/1/2013 1:08:00 PM
Cascade School District production of 'Alice in Wonderland' features large, talented cast
Musical opens Feb. 7 at Cascade High School
Photo by Ian Dunn
A cast of 68 brings you the musical “Alice in Wonderland” beginning Feb. 7 at Cascade High School. Pictured, from left, Annie Bowles (small Alice), Cascade Drama Director Mandi Wickline, Abby Brown (Alice), Carly Ostrem (Cheshire Cat), Leora Aurlio (Cheshire Cat). Note, large Alice is played by Gwed Larned, not pictured.
Photo by Ian Dunn
A cast of 68 brings you the musical “Alice in Wonderland” beginning Feb. 7 at Cascade High School. Pictured, from left, Annie Bowles (small Alice), Cascade Drama Director Mandi Wickline, Abby Brown (Alice), Carly Ostrem (Cheshire Cat), Leora Aurlio (Cheshire Cat). Note, large Alice is played by Gwed Larned, not pictured.

Ian Dunn
Editor




When you have a school play that features a good percentage of the school district population, you know you must have a blockbuster on your hands. The production of the Disney classic "Alice in Wonderland" features 68 students from Peshastin-Dryden, Osborn Elementary Schools and Icicle River Middle School.

Cascade School District Drama Coach, Mandi Wickline, typically directs the high school fall play and spring musical, but this year, decided to add the middle school play to her busy schedule. She thought "Alice in Wonderland" would be a great way include all ages of performers.

"It is based on the 1951 Disney movie. It is very modern compared to that. The music has been updated and sped up. It's a very fast, hour long musical," Wickline said. "It's different in that three kids play the Cheshire Cat. They are the narrators. There are three Alices for the three different sizes of Alice, small, medium and large."

Three girls also play the caterpillar. And instead of a hookah smoking caterpillar, this one blows bubbles. Another difference is the use of projection screens for the set. There are minimal set pieces. Instead, there will be paintings and pictures in rear projections.

Wickline said she decided to go with the rear projection early on. Her co-director Ted Fredricks is a good set builder, but when you are dealing with 10 different locations in a show, you have to make as "wonderland-ish" as possible. Moving a tree back and forth was not going to do it.

"It's something new we are trying. I've seen some amazing shows using projection," she said. "It's a way to streamline things. There's enough logistics getting people on and off the set. I did not want to have to worry about sets."

Having worked in many different theater productions, Wickline has experienced much. But working with 68 young kids was something new. At every opportunity, she tried to work one on one with the students.

They went through five and a half days of auditions at two different schools. Everyone has been practicing since the beginning of January. It only been five weeks, which is a challenge. But Wickline believes it will be worth it.

"Everyone is so unique and brings their different energy to the show. There's some really talented kids and some that have never done this before," she said. "You can't just show up and do a play. It teaches how to observe and react and that everybody's part is important. There's no small part. Everyone has an opportunity to shine."

Playing Alice is Abby Brown. Small Alice is Annie Bowles and large Alice is Gwen Larned. Ellie Camp, Carly Ostrem and Leora Aurilio are the Cheshire Cat. The Mad Hatter is Stephen Tveten. The White Rabbit is Landon Davies. Grace Camp is the Caterpillar, while the Caterpillar body is Kascia and Lauren Muscut and Alana Estacio.

There is also the Chorus Lobsters, Sandcrabs, Flamingos, Seahorses and Zip A Dee Chorus Members. The Zip A Dee Chorus are mostly K-2 kids. Wickline has been working with them during recess at PD.

"It's going to be really colorful and funny. I am doing a rim-shot for most of the show because there are so many cheesy jokes," she said. "It's amazing to see how far a kid can come in just 15 minutes of working with them. That's what I really enjoy."

The play opens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 at Cascade High School. It continues on Feb. 8 and 9, also at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Wickline is hoping to do a middle school play next year also. While it is hard to drum up interest at the middle school, she is hoping to build a department where everyone wants to participate and have fun.

"We want to build a department so kids can figure out at a young age if this is something they want to pursue. We start to see kids that have a knack for it early on and we can really help develop their talent over the years."

Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or editor@leavenworthecho.com.





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