Family Entertainment Beckons with Original "Alice in Wonderland"
at Kelsey Theatre Sept. 4-13
in Wonderland" has never been more magical than in the
world premiere musical kicking off the performance season at Mercer
County Community College's Kelsey Theatre in September. Appearing
for the first time at Kelsey, Twenty Minutes to Curtain Productions,
under the wing of legendary costume designer and show producer Arthur
Gerold, presents this professional production of a literary and
The opening night performance on Friday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. is a
fundraiser for the fledgling company, which hopes to take "Alice"
to New York City later this year. Tickets for opening night are
$50 per person and include a gala reception following the show.
Additional performances at regular ticket prices ($16 for adults;
$14 for seniors; and $12 for students/children) are: Saturdays,
Sept. 5 and 12 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.;
and Sundays, Sept. 6 and 13 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located
on the college's West
Windsor campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road.
says this version of "Alice in Wonderland" will follow
the traditional plot line of the Lewis Carroll classic, but with
embellishments that will delight children and adults alike. "There
will be a new approach to an old story. Everything will be slightly
askew," Gerold promises, including the Tweedle Dum and Tweedle
Dee characters popping up as commentators throughout the show. "We
are aiming for the absolute best in family entertainment - no bleeps!"
Parsons is Alice and Victor Rodriguez is the King.
production team for "Alice" includes, from left, Claudia
Perry, David Toser, Laura Downs, Kate Pinner, M. Kitty Getlik, Sean
Varga (standing at back), Arthur Gerold and Eric Barnes.
in "Alice" are: Lauren Parsons as Alice, Matthew Kennedy as
White Rabbit, Mariel Rosati as Cheshire Cat, Victor Rodriguez as Caterpillar/King,
Jason Etter as Mad Hatter, and Trudy Graboyes as the Queen. Jenna Miller
is featured as Tweedle Dee and James Fleming plays Tweedle Dum. Appearing
in multiple roles are Sherria Watts, Jenny Horowitz, David Gold, Colt
Morris, Dana Masterman, Jillian Elise Riley, Jill Bradshaw, Katie Correll,
Simon Hamilton, Eric Fabian Simon, Kate Franklin, Claire Norden, Marissa
Marciano, Anna Kralik, Rebekah Renzi, Sidney Walters, Nicolette Dell'Anno,
and Erin Fago.
production team includes Producer Arthur Gerold, Music Supervisor Eric
Barnes, Director Claudia Perry, Musical Director Louis F. Goldberg, Choreographer
Denise Whelan, Stage Manager Michael J. Pastorok, Costume Designer David
Toser, Set Designer Laura Downs, Lighting Designer Jerry Jonas, Lighting
Technician Chris Ghaffoor and Sound Design Technician Sean Varga.
The script, music and lyrics for "Alice in Wonderland" were
written by Gerold's late wife Marilyn, who died in 2002. Under the stage
name Marilyn Day, she sang with the Guy Lombardo Orchestra and starred
on Broadway in the original "Kiss Me Kate." "She retired
from stage and screen in 1952 at the age of 26 to marry me - imagine that!
- but never gave up her passion for theater," Gerold says. "This
show is Marilyn Gerold's work. It's written in the style of the grand
musicals from the 1950s - straightforward and beautiful." Gerold
explains that Twenty Minutes to Curtain Productions is a tribute to his
wife and her commitment to quality children's theater.
Marilyn was the driving force behind a previous theater company, "Make
Believe Players," a children's troupe that took root decades ago
in the Gerolds' backyard in Solebury, Bucks County, Pa. "We built
a stage, put up lights and used our garage for storing scenery and costumes,"
Arthur Gerold says. "And, each summer we put on an original show
- all the greats for kids, including Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel,
and many more." Talented local children appeared in these fairytale
adaptations, some of whom went on to performance related careers, such
as Eric Barnes, who recently returned to the area from his post as musical
director for the traveling production of "Chicago" and serves
as the orchestrator/arranger for this production of "Alice."
Twenty Minutes to Curtain Productions is yet another chapter in
Arthur Gerold storied history as a costume creator in theater, film and
television. During his many years in the entertainment business, he owned
and managed Brooks Van Horn costumers on both the East Coast and West
Coast, one of only two major companies that supplied costumes to Hollywood
and Broadway for many years. Gerold worked with a long list of major actors,
such as Katherine Hepburn (his favorite), Shirley MacLaine, Pearl Bailey
and Dustin Hoffman. Among the many Broadway shows for which he did costumes
were Mame, Irma La Duce, Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly (with 14 leading
ladies assuming the role), and 42nd Street, as well as numerous productions
for the American Shakespeare Festival.
His employees were enthusiastic young people. "We hired young people
with creative vision right out of Yale," he says. Many of them have
gone on to major careers in the field, including Tony Award-winning costume
designer William Ivey Long, whose credits include The Producers and Hairspray,
and Jane Greenwood, a designer with a long list of credits for stage,
screen and television.
Gerold fondly recalls working with Lorne Michaels and the original cast
of Saturday Night Live. "They would bring us a script on Thursday.
The costumes had to be ready by Saturday afternoon in time for the dress
rehearsal. We worked around the clock." Gerold created killer bee
costumes, coneheads, the Samurai warrior for John Belushi and many more.
"They were such a fantastic bunch of actors," he says.
If the 86-year-old producer has his way, Twenty Minutes to Curtain Productions
will perform annually at Kelsey Theatre "for the next hundred years.
We've found a home here," Gerold says. Next year, the company plans
to stage a production of "Snow White."
Tickets for "Alice in Wonderland" are $16 for adults, $14 for
seniors, and $12 for students and children. Free parking is available
next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased online
or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is
wheelchair accessible and provides assisted listening devices upon request.
series tickets are now on sale with savings of up to 45%. Tickets for
all individual shows go on sale August 25. Learn more by visiting the
Kelsey Theatre website.
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