SANTA CRUZ — Last year, Christian Youth Theater (CYT) of Santa Cruz continued its ongoing trend of sold-out theater productions with its version of “Peter Pan,” performed at the Crocker Theater in Aptos.
This year the group is once again hoping to exceed expectations with “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” The musical will open on Friday, Feb. 23 and run through Sunday, March 4, and will be held at the Louden Nelson Community Center in downtown Santa Cruz.
“This is not going to be your average Disney musical,” said Stacey Ely of CYT Santa Cruz Public Relations. “We’ve taken a new twist on an old favorite.”
“Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” will be put on by two separate casts. Dubbed “The Tweedleteens,” the first cast is made up of teenage actors, singers and dancers. The younger performers, “The Cheshire Cast,” will be alternating with them over the two weeks of performances.
Both casts, who range from age 8 to 18, will have been rehearsing for eight weeks every Tuesday and Thursday prior to opening night. Ely said she’s continually impressed by the hard work they put into the show.
“A lot of these kids hope to continue performing in the future,” she said. “They want to dance, sing, act — they love it and you can tell when you see them up there on stage.”
Ely praised both lead actresses in the role of Alice, Faith Bartlett of The Tweedleteens and Charlotte Smith of The Cheshire Cast, saying both are “mighty singers” and could have an incredible career in theater ahead of them if they wanted.
“Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” is CYT’s 14th show. Utilizing set designers from Cabrillo College’s theater department, choreographers from Agape Dance Academy and a number of notable local vocal instructors, it will apparently be taking on a 1960s “mod” style, with bright sets and different types of costumes.
With the move to the Louden Nelson Community Center, seats are limited compared to last year. But the center’s theater has been refurbished recently, with new and improved seating. Ely said CYT hopes it will help draw in crowds.
“We’re always striving for quality, to try something different,” she said. “It’s looking like this will be another big success.”
General tickets for “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. For children under 12 and seniors over 65, tickets are $15. For groups of more than 10 people, the price is reduced to $14 each. To order, visit cytsantacruz.org.
For information, call 298-0001.