'Alice in Wonderland'

Jill Linton (center) and fellow cast members (clockwise from bottom left) Annie Clepper, Jordan Gaskamp, Sundi Lee, Milo Michel, Devin Norwood, and Eva Kirby practice a song during a rehearsal of “Alice in Wonderland” at Unity Theatre. The show runs for eight performances from July 26-29.

Starting July 26, Unity Theatre invites audiences to join them in journeying down the rabbit hole and exploring the wonderful, whimsical world of Wonderland during their summer children’s musical production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

The play, adapted from Lewis Carroll’s book, follows Alice as she travels down an enchanted rabbit hole to a curious world of dancing animals, singing doors, punctual rabbits, and mad tea parties. Playing cards hold court, and nothing is as it seems in this land where whimsy and wordplay are the order of the day. Written by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy, this Prince Street Players Musical is full of music, dancing, and fun and promises to bring smiles to kids of all ages.

“I love these Prince Street Players scripts because I think they’re very funny,” said Kate Revnell-Smith, the director of “Alice in Wonderland” and the Executive Artistic Director of Unity Theatre. “They’re always sort of a twist on whatever the fairy tale is or the story is.

“I love children’s theater. I particularly like it when all the kids from summer camp join us and we put them into the show. They’re always so excited about doing the show.”

This will be Unity’s seventh summer musical that will include the children in the theater’s Summer Drama Camp in chorus roles. By being in the show, the Summer Drama Camp participants get a chance to experience what it is like to work at a theater and to perform in an actual play.

“They actually experience what it’s like. They have to act like mini professionals,” said Revnell-Smith.

In addition to the Summer Drama Camp children, the play features a main cast containing both new and familiar faces. Jill Linton, a Texas State senior, makes her debut at Unity as the adventurous Alice.

“I was super excited when they asked me to audition,” she said. “The play is so much fun, and it’s so colorful and always super happy. You get to see so many different characters. I think it’s a good time for everyone. I think everyone will enjoy it.”

Devin Norwood, who plays the time-pressed White Rabbit and is also the show’s assistant director, will be appearing in his seventh summer musical at Unity.

“The summer shows are challenging enough to expand you, but they’re still fun,” he said. “I just get to be really silly for an hour with my friends. That’s my favorite thing. That’s the reason I keep coming back.”

Norwood also enjoys working with the children from the Summer Drama Camp.

“What’s really cool is seeing kids go through the Summer Drama Camp and then grow and find their passion and getting to share the stage with kids that I’ve taught,” said Norwood. “It may seem like a tiny show that we do really quickly, but they think it’s the coolest thing in the world. It inspires and gets kids on the stage and gets them coming back every year.”

The rest of the whacky, whimsical cast of characters are played by Annie Clepper, Antonio Teodoro, Cora Hemphill, Cydney Pennison, Eva Kirby, Jordan Gaskamp, Keaton Korthauer, Milo Michel, Rylie Patrick, Sam Hvidbjerg, Stephanie Rivera and Sundi Lee. After the show, everyone has a chance to meet the actors and take photos with the characters.

“People should come see the play because it’s so much fun!” said Norwood. “Everyone is going so far into their characters, and everyone is getting so silly. I enjoy watching it when I’m not onstage. It’s like a rabbit hole of fun.”

“I think you should bring your children to the theater because it’s a great cultural experience,” said Revnell-Smith. “There’s nothing like experiencing going into a dark theater and watching something happen organically and it will never happen that way again. It’ll be the same show, but it’ll never be the same show.”

Suitable for children ages 4 and up, the show runs at Unity Theatre for eight performances during one weekend only, from July 26-29. The performances are Thursday and Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 and 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children (age 18 and under) and are on sale now.

Reservations are recommended and can be made through the Unity Theatre Box Office at 300 Church Street, open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., or by phone at (979) 830-8358. For more information, visit the website at www.unitybrenham.org.

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