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Wonder(land) and mystery hit musical theater

By: Eileen Wilson, Telegraph Correspondent
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While a man named Charles Dodgson, also known as Lewis Carroll, published “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” almost 150 years ago, Walt Disney’s movie, “Alice in Wonderland,” was the catalyst that turned Carroll’s quirky characters into household names. It’s with Carroll’s madcap spirit that El Dorado Hills Musical Theatre opened “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” on July 8. “The story got what I would call ‘Disney-fied’,” said Rick Wilson, the show’s director. “All your favorite characters will be there.” From the Cheshire Cat to the White Rabbit, which, according to Wilson, is always late — the show will appeal to audiences of all ages. “This show will appeal to parents and kids, or to adults who remember the book or movie from their own childhood,” Wilson said. El Dorado Musical Theatre offers parts to as many young people as possible, and this show is no exception. With a double cast, over 100 kids are involved in the production. “This is the first time we’ve ever had a double cast in the summer show,” Wilson said. According to Wilson, performing a live show that’s based on an animated movie has its challenges. “Making people bigger when they drink and smaller when they eat isn’t easy — we don’t have an inflatable actress,” Wilson said. “We use stage tricks like flying in a larger doorway to show Alice shrinking.” Wilson is excited to have his cast perform at Three Stages, and said the best place to be is on center stage, just looking out at the audience. When it comes to stage shows, Disney doesn’t get to have all the fun. El Dorado Musical Theatre will open “Curtains, a Musical, Comedy and Whodunit” on July 22. “The show is wild and crazy, and it’s really fun because audiences will get two shows in one,” said Jennifer Martin, the show’s vocal director. “There is a play within a play – the show is funny and very clever.” Written by Peter Stone, who was one of few writers to ever be honored with a Tony Award, an Emmy Award and an Oscar Award, the show is filled with witty lines and catchy lyrics. “It’s very comic driven,” Martin said. “There’s a lot going on.” The musical is set in mid-century Boston, and includes a murder, a dreamy detective, and a hint at romance. David Hyde Pierce won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Leutenant Ciofi, a part played by the talented Matt Sturgis, a bass baritone with classical voice training. “The actors are really talented, and the ensemble is so strong, too. They’re performing in 4 to 6 part harmony, which they handle really well,” Martin said. Debbie Wilson, “Curtains’” director, can’t wait to see the show come to life on stage. “The show is so funny — it’s fast, witty and clever,” she said. With lyrics and music written by Fred Ebb and John Kander, the duo who wrote lyrics and music for well-loved shows like “Chicago” and “Cabaret”, this musical is sure to thrill Broadway lovers, as well. * * * KNOW AND GO What: “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” When: Through July 17. Show dates and times vary, check website for details What: “Curtains, a Musical, Comedy and Whodunit” When: July 22-31. Show dates and times vary, check website for details Who: El Dorado Musical Theatre Where: Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway, Folsom Cost: Tickets $12 - $29 Information: edmt.info or threestages.net