This month, Gamut Theatre opens their signature fall play, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass,” an original play by Sean Adams.
The role of Alice is played by student Kennedy Commissiong, while her wacky counterparts are played by adults, many with decades of comedic acting experience. As per Gamut’s new show ratings system, this nonsensical thrill ride is great for all ages.
I have the opportunity to bring you a look behind the scenes at the upcoming show.
Melissa Nicholson, director of this whirlwind production, is excited to share the story with audiences.
“I love directing this play,” she said. “The challenge with ‘Alice’ is that it is such a bizarre story when you stay as true to the books as we have, and we want that strangeness to be inviting, not off-putting. We’ve added original music, dance and movement to keep things rolling, and our multi-talented ensemble cast has created a truly unique play that is fun for all ages, whether you’re 5 or 105!”
Nicholson has actually directed this story, and, more specifically, this script before. Playwright Sean Adams adapted the play from the books by Lewis Carroll, initially intending it to be performed by students.
In 2014, that’s exactly what Gamut’s Young Acting Company did. Erin Shellenberger, who played Alice in that student production, joins the current cast for this reimagined telling of the story.
“That first production of Alice in 2014 was a pivotal moment in the development of my confidence as an actor, and I couldn’t be more delighted to return to Wonderland with Gamut Theatre,” she said.
Nicholson and Adams revisited the script together during the pandemic and decided they could make it a full-scale mainstage production fairly easily. One shared vision and several rounds of edits later, they had a script that was both adult and student friendly. And amazingly, many parts didn’t have to change—where it was adorably lovable to see little faces in lobster costumes singing and dancing, it’s hysterical to see those parts filled by grown adults.
While Gamut promotes the play as being family-friendly, that doesn’t mean parents will sit back and snooze while their kids are entertained. Always aiming to make their shows accessible to all ages and all types of people, Gamut has hit the mark again with this interpretation of a child’s epic adventure. You’ll laugh, you’ll empathize… you and your kids will be on the edge of your seats wondering what happens to Alice next.
Alice puts it quite plainly: “I shouldn’t like a romantic story—I’d much prefer a silly one.”
“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass” runs Nov. 6 to 28 at Gamut Theatre, 15 N. 4th St., Harrisburg. For more information, call 717-238-4111 or visit www.gamuttheatre.org.
UPCOMING THEATER EVENTS
AT HARRISBURG’S PROFESSIONAL
At Gamut Theatre
“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass”
By Sean Adams
Based on the books by Lewis Carroll
Nov. 6 to 28
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
Doors and bar open one hour prior to the performance.
Tickets are “pick your price.” You can choose the recommended $38 ticket, or a discounted ticket price of $26 or $14.
Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Doors and bar open 45 minutes prior to the performance.
Tickets are $10
At Open Stage
“Violet Oakley Unveiled”
Nov. 12 & 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Harrisburg Black NewsBeat with Dr. Kimeka Campbell
Nov. 10 & 24 at 8:30 p.m.
Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.
The Obstructed View
Nov. 6 & 20 at 9:30 p.m.
Court Street Cabaret
Nov. 20 & 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 26 to Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
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