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Stage set for 'Alice in Wonderland'

A tale of young girl who discovers whimsical adventure in another land will come to life in the local production of "Alice in Wonderland."

The musical will begin at 7:29 p.m. Friday and Saturday on the Main Stage of Bemidji State University's Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex.

Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, children and students, and free for BSU students with valid identification. Tickets are available at Ken K. Thompson Jewelry at the Paul Bunyan Mall and Iverson Corner Drug. Tickets also will be available at the door prior to the performances.

The cast will also perform the musical for area students today and Thursday.

BSU's Department of Theatre and Communication Arts and Bemidji Community Theater is jointly presenting the musical.

"This is our second collaboration with Bemidji Community Theater," said director Mary Knox-Johnson, assistant professor of theatre and communication arts at BSU. "The cast is almost half and half BSU students and community people."

The two groups, which are collaborating in an effort to create more theater opportunities for actors and audiences in the community, produced "Kiss Me, Kate" in 2007.

Audiences of all ages are invited to follow Alice, played by Renae Spangler of Grand Rapids, Minn., as she pursues the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole to a land with fantastical creatures of all kinds. Tony Tammaro of Laporte, a BSU sophomore majoring in music, will play the White Rabbit.

"It becomes an adventure," Knox-Johnson said.

As Alice meets creatures and people on her adventure including the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, she finds out more about herself, Knox-Johnson said. She added that the different characters try to give Alice their impressions of the world.

"'Alice in Wonderland' deals with problems many of us encounter frequently," Knox-Johnson noted. "We can all relate to the challenges of how to make friends, discover ourselves, use our imaginations and look at the world through another person's perspective."

The Lewis Carroll classic, adapted by Charles Turner with music and lyrics by Steve Moore, makes for a fun and upbeat production with universal appeal, she added.

The musical, which will feature several characters in full-bodied costumes, is being locally produced by Sarah Einerson and Patty Lester. Matthew Goinz is the musical director and accompanist.

The production is made possible in part by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the state Legislature and the BSU Foundation.