Stage West Community Theatre opens its production of “Alice in Wonderland” this weekend at the Ocean Shores Lions Club.
There will be Friday and Saturday evening performances at 7 p.m. on May 3, 4, 10 and 11 and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on May 5 and 12.
The cast of 24 is the largest in memory for the local nonprofit theater group, and half of them are students from the area.
Several adults are making their Stage West debuts, including Ocean Shores City Council members Susan Conniry and Kathryn Sprigg, who auditioned on a whim and were surprised and flattered when director Jay Dalton asked them to play the roles of the Cook and the Duchess.
Other newcomers to Stage West include Joni Chism as Alice, Joseph Duncan as the Mad Hatter and Mike Preston as the Knave of Hearts.
Dalton said the show boasts “one wildly elaborate set,” which features a playful 10- by 24-foot backdrop collage hand-painted by local artist Don Wells. An eclectic collection of colorful costuming completes the production’s visual design, because “audiences have a certain expectation of what ‘Alice in Wonderland’ should look like,” he said.
Retired after 40 years of teaching theater along with “a smattering of everything,” Dalton said he finds the “biggest challenge in working with young actors is persuading them that they’re good enough to do it. A lot of times they’re not sure. … After weeks of intensive rehearsal, I believe … this cast has created an imaginative version of the Alice story.”
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, available in Ocean Shores at the Dusty Trunk and Mocha Madness, at the door and online at www.stagewestcommunitytheatre.org. The club is located at 832 Ocean Shores Blvd. NW.