Department of Theatre presents "Alice in Wonderland"

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 15 for the musical fantasy “Alice in Wonderland,” presented by the Bemidji State University Department of Theatre and the Bemidji Community Theater. Performances of “Alice in Wonderland” will be held Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8, on the Bangsberg Main Stage on the campus of Bemidji State.

Audiences of all ages are invited to follow Alice (Renae Spangler of Grand Rapids) in her whimsical adventure as she pursues the White Rabbit (Tony Tammaro of LaPorte, a sophomore music major) down the rabbit hole in Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic adapted by Charles Turner with music and lyrics by Steve Moore, locally produced by Sarah Einerson and Patty Lester.

The evening performances will each begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, children and students, and free for BSU students with valid ID. Tickets for the evening performances are available at Ken K. Thompson Jewelry at the Paul Bunyan Mall, Iverson Corner Drug in downtown Bemidji and at the door prior to the performance.

Turner’s adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” together with Moore’s music makes for a fun and upbeat production with universal appeal, according to director Mary Knox-Johnson, BSU assistant professor of theatre and communications arts.

“‘Alice in Wonderland’ deals with problems many of us encounter frequently,” Knox-Johnson said. “We can all relate to the challenges of how to make friends, discover ourselves, use our imaginations and look at the world through another person’s perspective.”

In early December, more than 55 people of all ages auditioned for a cast of about 28 roles, half of which have been filled by Bemidji State students and the other half by community members, including several children. This is the second time in two years that the BSU Department of Theatre and Bemidji Community Theater have collaborated in an effort to create more theater opportunities for actors and audiences in the community. They previously collaborated on “Kiss Me, Kate” in 2007.

The production is made possible in part by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the Minnesota State Legislature and the BSU Foundation.

Production cast
As Alice travels through Wonderland, other characters she encounters, played by BSU students, are: Mock Turtle (Scott Rieffer), Caterpillar (Danielle Stadick), Cheshire Cat (Chris Ramage), Mad Hatter (Jon Mansk), March Hare (Travis Sjaaheim), Tweedle Dee (Jeff Darchuk) and Duchess (Lauren Rogalla).

Other key cast members played by community members are: Tweedle Dum (Rachel Munson), Dormouse (Zoe Davenport), Duck (Ceara Dowell), Gryphon (Luke Rogers), Dodo (Paul Conklin), Queen of Hearts (Sarah Einerson), King of Hearts (Kurt Kastella) and Cook (Elizabeth Sorenson).

Filling roles as extras will be BSU students Sarah Bull, Sami Rens, Jonathon Heinen, Ramey Nordby, Tiffany Seibel and Kristen Wade, as well as community members Larissa Donovan, Marie Kastella, Rachel Magnuson, Amanda Yeats and Anna Muller.

Coordinating the challenges of staging for the musical fantasy are scene designer Patrick Carriere, chair of the BSU Department of Theatre, and technical director Dwayne Johnson, BSU adjunct professor of theatre. Matthew Goinz is the music director, and Pat Brittian and Knox-Johnson are coordinating costume design with assistance by Wade and Rens, as well as stitchers from the community including Tammy Rogers, Linda Rasmussen, Pat Conely, Sharon Madden and Patty Lester.

In addition to the two evening performances, “Alice in Wonderland” will also have four matinee performances exclusively for area school children at 9:30 a.m. and noon on March 5 and 6.

For more information, contact the Department of Theatre and Communications Arts by phone at (218) 755-3935.

March 7-8
– 7:30 p.m. – A musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” presented by the Bemidji State University Department of Theatre and the Bemidji Community Theater. Location: Bangsberg Main Theater of the Bemidji State campus: Admission: $8 adults, $4 senior citizens, children and students, and free to all BSU students. Information: (218) 755-3935.