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The inspiration for Alice and the Looking Glass

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A child inspired the timeless legend of Alice in Wonderland. And another child has inspired Live Oak Theatre’s production of Alice and the Looking Glass.

Live Oak Theatre announces that tickets are now on sale for its Acorn Theatre production of Alice and the Looking Glass. Alice and the Looking Glass, sponsored by the Brooksville Kiwanis Foundation, will be performed on April 22, 24, 29, 30 and May 1 at the Carol and Frank Morsani Center for the Arts, 21030 Cortez Boulevard, Brooksville. Acorn Theatre is Live Oak’s Youth Theatre program for students ages 8-18.

An original musical production directed by Lexi Allocco and written (script and music) by Randi Olsen, with writing support from Kyle Marra, this full-length production builds on an original story the theatre debuted in last year’s season, with new songs and additional characters added for good measure. The first act includes two new songs, and the entirely new second act transpires in a new realm of Wonderland.

“The audience will be transported to Wonderland,” said Olsen.

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Featured tunes will include Acorn Theatre performers’ rendition of original songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat,” “Rabbit Hole,” and “Wonderland.”

“There are all kids in this production, getting a real learning experience in musical theatre,” said Live Oak spokesperson Vince Vanni, “and it features original words and music from Randi Olsen, who has done a beautiful job in creating a version of Alice that is not scary and is very kid friendly.”

Indeed, child readers proved the primary inspiration for the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the 1865 British novel by Lewis Carroll, called “one of the most popular works of English-language fiction.” The story–concerning a young girl who falls asleep in a meadow and dreams of following a White Rabbit down a rabbit hole–was created by Carroll specifically for recitation to Lorina, Alice, and Edith Liddell, daughters of Henry George Liddell, dean of Christ Church in Oxford, where the author studied and held a fellowship, while the group was on a picnic in July 1862. Alice requested that Carroll put the stories in written form for her reading enjoyment; in response, the author created a hand-lettered collection entitled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. A visitor to the Liddell home read the storybook and found the story worthy of publication, which inspired Carroll to revise and to expand it–thus authoring the signature stories that children read to this day.

It is perhaps fitting that a child also inspired the Acorn Theatre production of Alice and the Looking Glass.

“Once while holding auditions for a show, we saw a little girl who performed a monologue from Alice in Wonderland,” said Olsen. “It stuck with me. I was inspired. Three or four years later, I wrote the Alice musical. And that child, Emily Mosher, is one of our Alices.”

Isabella Rossiter also plays Alice in this production, which Olsen credits with challenging and expanding her creativity.

“This has sparked my imagination,” she said.

Olsen credits a “fantastic” cast and crew with helping her meet the production’s challenges, from its costumes and original music to the creation of the Jabberwocky; a villainous, dragon-like creature prominent in the story. And in Vanni’s eyes, young people involved in the production are getting a crash course in the theatrical arts.

“This original production is ever-changing, with new script changes coming in each day of rehearsal, much as it would in a Broadway show,” he said, adding with a smile, “It’s an immersive experience, with an emphasis on hands on learning.”

Furthermore, says Olsen, audiences also can take away many life lessons from Alice and the Looking Glass.

“Alice struggles with chaos, but finds order–like all of us, she is looking for balance,” she said. “This show teaches that everything can be crazy–and wonderful at the same time.”

Seats for Alice and the Looking Glass are $15 for adults and $8 for children ages 13 and under when accompanied by an adult. Friday and Saturday evening shows are at 7:30 PM; Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 PM.

To purchase tickets, go to https://liveoaktheatre.square.site/ or email [email protected] or call 352-593-0027.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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