Stages St. Louis’ production of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is an excellent, accessible on-ramp to the world of make-believe.
Before I give my review of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, I would like to congratulate Executive Producer Jack Lane on his Tony wins for The Humans. The show, which Lane and Fox Theatricals were producers of, went on to win four Tony’s including “Best Play.” This makes Lane and Fox Theatricals two for two seeing how they also won for Fun Home last year—applause all around!
We all know the story of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Alice goes down the rabbit hole into a mysterious world full of colorful characters. We know the story, but youngsters may not. This is why Stages’ productions for young audiences is essential. Exposing youth to the theater is how we cultivate the creative minds of tomorrow. Stages St. Louis’ production of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is an excellent, accessible on-ramp to the world of make-believe.
With a running time of just about an hour, the show moves at a quick pace—those attention spans don’t last forever. In that short time, Director Michael Hamilton and his talented staff fully realized the whimsical world of Wonderland. While the children surely enjoyed the larger than life characters, the more mature of us (ahem) were treated to a visual feast and a highly entertaining production.
Alexis Kinney, as Alice, was delightful to watch. Her wide-eyed confidence and enjoyable vocal delivery were highlights of the production. While Kinney was surely the star of the show, she was flanked by a highly talented ensemble cast.
Austin Glen Jacobs and Ryan Alexander Jacobs were double-trouble in their roles of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee; Ryan Cooper’s performance as the Mad Hatter was insanely good; Angela Sapolis was a triple threat in each of her roles with a special nod to her performance as the Queen of Hearts; and each of The Girls of the Golden Afternoon were positively poisonous—in a good way.
While the cast worked in harmony so did the technical team. Ellen Isom’s choreography was engaging to watch, Jim Sandefur’s scenic design came alive with each scene, and Garth Dunbar’s costumes were particularly noteworthy. The attention to detail in each of the costumes was exquisite. I just want to know where he got those golden platform high-tops for the Girls of the Golden Afternoon. I’ll take a pair in every color.
One of my favorite moments of the production came at the end when the cast came onstage to take questions from the audience. From questions about sound design to how a particular prop worked, the cast handled each question with respect and love for their audience.
If you have a youngster that is showing interest of slapping on the grease paint, Stages St. Louis hosts a series of Summer camps as well as offers its own Performing Arts Academy. For more information, visit www.stagesstlouis.org.
With a top notch cast both on the stage and behind the scenes, Stages St. Louis’ production of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland offers something for both the young and the young of heart. Be sure to mark your calendars and don’t be late for this enchanting production. Stages St. Louis is making their 30th anniversary one for the storybooks. | Jim Ryan
Disney’s Alice in Wonderland plays through July 3 at the The Playhouse at Westport Plaza. For showtimes and tickets, please visit www.stagesstlouis.org.
Photo: Peter Wochniak, ProPhotoStl.com