Los Banos community theater set to tackle a classic

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comJuly 11, 2014 

A reworked version of a children’s classic will be performed at the Ted Falasco Arts Center later this month.

The Los Banos Arts Council and Los Broadway will present “Wonderland: The Alice Story” at 7:30 p.m. July 31 and Aug. 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9.

The play is a non-traditional musical that picks up where “Alice in Wonderland” ended.

Wonderland has changed since the last time Alice visited; it has become a darker place, according Robert Jerome Pagan, director and writer.

“Wonderland: The Alice Story” was performed in Dos Palos last year, but Pagan said he’s since changed the script.

“I think the weirdest thing we did with this script is we made the characters more realistic, you relate to them a lot more,” Pagan said. “We made them real people.”

The 45-member cast has been rehearsing for five weeks. As the opening approaches, Tuesday night rehearsals have become more intense.

Naya Ramsey-Clarke, 15, the lead, said the pressure has not overtaken her.

“I enjoy the challenge of learning everything,” Ramsey-Clarke said.

“Music part is very difficult. It is more of a rock show. It’s not classical music theater,” said Carissa Shrum, 15, who plays the Cheshire Cat.

Shrum, who is also an assistant director, said the double roll has been a challenge, but learning the music has been the hardest part.

Jimmy Twoskulls, a Kentucky native making a stop in Los Banos on his way to Los Angeles to try to make it big, wrote the music for the play and was given the role of the Mad Hatter.

“Originally, I thought I was only going to be writing the music, but he (Pagan) said. ‘You’re going to be playing and having some lines.’ I was definitely taken aback,” Twoskulls said.

He said acting is definitely the most difficult part of the production for him. Twoskulls said, “I’ve been writing music I’m proud of since 2002.”

Pagan said he believes the play will have wide appeal.

“I believe anyone who loves ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in general will love this take,” Pagan said. “Anyone who loves the Tim Burton version will be amazed to see a whole different take on a darker side of it.”

Ticket prices for “Wonderland: The Alice Story” range between $10 and $20. To purchase tickets or get more information, call (209) 675-7605 or email losbroadway@gmail.com

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