Catch this season’s production of a modern retelling of “Alice in Wonderland” on Nov. 16, 17 and 18
The Washington Township High School Way-Off Broadway Players will take a fall down the rabbit hole to Wonderland this fall as they present “Alice @ Wonderland” on Nov. 16, 17 and 18. The fun, imaginative retelling of “Alice in Wonderland” with a modern twist will have audience members of all ages feeling whimsical and entertained.
The story is told similarly to the classic children’s tale; however tradition meets the 21st century as Alice travels through the fantastical world of Wonderland with cellphone in hand. As a present-day Alice, portrayed by sophomore Maggie Fitzgerald, comes face-to-face with the long-established characters of the Mad Hatter, played by senior Josh Coomis, the White Rabbit, played by junior Scott Bonerbo, Queen of Hearts, played by junior Samantha Grasso, and more, she finds herself having to explain the lifestyle she knows so well, making references to texting, Google and social media throughout the play.
Coomis said his persona of the Mad Hatter, a wacky and charming character, allows him to do what he loves most: make people laugh and be himself.
“It’s so easy to let loose and let all of your craziness out on stage,” Coomis said. “I’m really looking forward to doing something incredible and making people happy on opening day.”
According to Fitzgerald, the imaginative role of Alice is a welcomed reversal from the serious environment of the classroom each day.
“Here you can just let loose and make up a world of your own and have fun with all of the different characters,” Fitzgerald said.
The most difficult part for Fitzgerald, she said, has been getting away from the well-known, classic, animated version of Alice, and instead portraying the modern, more “bratty and know-it-all” interpretation of the contemporary digital-age Alice.
Under the direction of Washington Township High School teacher Abby Molotsky, the production, which has approximately 49 characters, allows a role for as many students as possible, a major factor in her decision to choose the play for the fall season.
“I like to give as many kids an opportunity to get on the stage as I can,” Molotsky said. “I think it’s really important for a lot of these kids to find their place in theater and to find their people.”
According to Molotsky, because there are so many characters, while each student has their own starring role in each scene, many of them are also doubling as multiple roles throughout the production. One of the biggest challenges, she said, is for the students who may have two or three parts, and if they are also a dancer, possibly even four of five parts, which are accompanied by constant costume changes paired with a new persona.
“I think right now there’s already so much energy in the show. Once the audience gets here it will bring it to a whole new level,” Bonerbo said. “It’s going to be crazy and fun.”
Students began rehearsing for the show in early October, and up until this week, students were running through the show three days a week until 5:30 p.m. This week, the students will begin rehearsing every day until opening day.
“I’m excited to show everyone what this cast can do and what this show is all about,” Grasso said. “We’ve put so much energy into it and I think it’s really going to pay off in the end.”
“Alice @ Wonderland” will open at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16, as well as Nov. 17, with a 2 p.m. show on Nov. 18. General admission tickets can be purchased for $8 at the door, as well as in advance by emailing Shannon Molloy at firstname.lastname@example.org.