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On Alice’s turf, expect the unexpected

By Sara Siedel, For the Richmond News

The Farris Theatre stage turns into a wonderland, and young actors become rabbits, cats, lobsters and birds when the Farris Youth Theatre Company presents  Alice in Wonderland, Jr., this weekend.
Performances of the whimsical show, which follows the adventures of a young girl who finds herself in a magical world of fanciful folks and creatures, are Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at the historic venue.
The play adapts the 1951 Disney film and adds music written by Sammy Fain and Bob Hillard, according to director Sandy Cazzell.
“It’s a fun, fast-moving show with lots of crazy characters,” Cazzell said.
The cast, she noted, keeps trying to make sense of the storyline.
“I tell them it’s Wonderland,” she said. “Anything can happen.”
Three actresses portray Alice, depicting her as she grows or shrinks during her visit to Wonderland.  Kylie Phipps is

Alice, portrayed by Kylie Phipps, ignores her sister Matilda, portrayed by Morgan Houston, just before Alice ends up down the rabbit hole in the Farris Youth Arts Players production of Alice in Wonderland, Jr. this weekend at the Farris Theatre, with shows Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. (Photo by Sara Siedel)

Alice, portrayed by Kylie Phipps, ignores her sister Matilda, portrayed by Morgan Houston, just before Alice ends up down the rabbit hole in the Farris Youth Arts Players production of Alice in Wonderland, Jr. this weekend at the Farris Theatre, with shows Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
(Photo by Sara Siedel)

Alice, while Natalie Rippy is Tall and Katelyn Smith is Small Alice.
The adventure begins as Alice and her sister Matilda, portrayed by Morgan Houston, pass time in a park, and Matilda lulls Alice to sleep. Upon awakening, Alice finds herself in a rabbit hole, where she encounters the White Rabbit, portrayed by Colton Baker. In the hole, she takes some advice from a talking Doorknob, Loree Valentine.
Then, becoming distraught, Alice begins to cry, which leads to encounters with Rock Lobsters, portrayed by Hannah Norris and Katelyn Weaver, and the Dodo, portrayed by Scarlett Gottschalk.
Next, Alice meets Connor Craig and Matt Vaughan as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, who decide to teach Alice some manners.
Alice then hides in a patch of rude flowers, namely Grace Warner as Rose, Allecia Weaver as Petunia, Jillian Heber as Lily, Hailey Fairchild as Violet and Sophia Donaldson as Daisy.
Madison Holloway as the Caterpillar tries to cheer Alice up, and the Cheshire Cat appears. Like Alice’s character, the cat requires three actors, who portray the cat’s body parts. Taylor Coffer, Elizabeth Bowman and Maggie Sause are the cat’s head, body and legs.
The cat leads Alice to the famous Unbirthday party, where Austin Clock takes on the role of the Mad Hatter and Jared Richards assumes the persona of the March Hare.
The Cheshire Cat then introduces Alice to the Royal Cardsmen and the Citizens of Wonderland:  Dakota Yates, Ian List, Mason Fields, Kallie Yarbro, Maize Dykes, Leah Stoner and Carlie Holmes.
Unhappy with the Cardsmen’s redecorating scheme, the Queen of Hearts, also known as Jenny Corwin, wants to separate the Cardsmen from their heads and sentences Alice to the same fate. Parker Brown as the King of Hearts suggests that the queen hold a trial instead, but the zany cast of witnesses doesn’t help Alice’s case.
The tech crew includes Ava Murphy and Jordan Heber running the sound board and Kaitlyn Huffman and Kayden McCarter running lights. Layne Craig is assisting backstage.
On Friday and Saturday, the show begins at 7 p.m.; on Sunday, it begins at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.
The Friends of the Farris, Inc., is sponsoring the performance.

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