FALMOUTH — Maine State Ballet will take the audience down the rabbit hole this spring with a three-week run of the comedic ballet “Alice in Wonderland,” March 23 through April 8, at Maine State Ballet’s Lopez Theater, 348 U.S. Route 1.

Based on the classic novel by Lewis Carroll, with a score gleaned from Alexander Glazunov’s “Raymonda” and Sir William Walton’s “Façade,” “Alice in Wonderland” is a critically acclaimed original ballet by Artistic Director Linda MacArthur Miele. It is one of the only narrated ballets in the Maine State Ballet repertoire, which makes it easy for young children to follow.

When Alice follows the White Rabbit down his hole, she finds herself in a fantasy world occupied by fanciful characters, including the Cheshire Cat, the sly Caterpillar, the tap dancing Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and the clever Knave of Hearts. She attends the Mad Hatter’s hilarious Tea Party, and she almost loses her head during the wildest game of croquet ever played.

The set designed by Associate Director Gail Csoboth, along with lighting designed by Fred Bernier, transports the audience into the fantastically surreal pages of the Carroll novel. Csoboth’s costume designs, including the Garden of Live Flowers, the Queen of Hearts with her deck of cards, and giant lobsters dancing the Quadrille, could be a show unto themselves.

Company soloists Kendra Murray and Brooke Sowerby split the role of Alice.

For Murray, 18, of Falmouth, this marks the third time she has performed in “Alice in Wonderland.”

“I started out as a tiny Rocking Horse Fly back in 2007, and the next time we did Alice I was in the background as a White Lily Bud,” Murray said. “So to be cast as Alice for my first major solo role is a dream come true.”

It’s Murray’s first time carrying a ballet, and she was surprised by the amount of acting she has to do and how much planning goes into every detail of the pantomime scenes.

“I’m used to dancing solos or being part of the corps, but now I realize how every little gesture or movement Alice makes has to be correct in order to advance the story. It’s definitely a challenge,” Murray said.

Sowerby, 18, of South Portland, debuted as Clara in “The Nutcracker” in November, and she said she is happy to have the opportunity to be featured in another iconic role this season.

“I never expected to be cast as Alice, so I’m over the moon right now,” she said. “I feel honored knowing that Mrs. Miele trusts me enough to give me another incredible opportunity this season.” Sowerby said her favorite part of “Alice in Wonderland” is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

“It’s just so funny!” she said. “The characters, especially the March Hare, are ridiculous. I have so much fun doing that scene, and I know the audience will love it as much as I do.”

Local cast members include Paige Gelhar of Durham as Buttercup; Sydney Morrison of Freeport as the Queen of Diamonds; Abigail Beaucaire and Alexis Beaucaire of Greene, both as White Lilly Bud; Hannah Bergeron of Lewiston as Violet and Three of Spades; Margaret Dwinal of Topsham as Tiger Lily and Lobster; and Molly Brown of Turner as White Lily Bud.

Performance times are 7 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets are $19 to $25 for reserved seating, with a $2 discount for those 62 years and older, and children 12 and younger. Order tickets online at www.mainestateballet.org or call Maine State Ballet at 207-781-7672 for more information.

Maine State Ballet, based in Falmouth, is one of New England’s leading performing arts institutions and twice named Maine’s Best Dance Group by Downeast Magazine. 


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