Touring youth theatre troupe visits Crestview schools (VIDEO)


Northwood Arts and Sciences Academy students Sydney Faulk and Ethan Milonas assist Atlantic Coast Theatre for Youth performers Noel Holland as Alice and Don Gruel as the Mad Hatter during the Mad Tea Party scene of "Alice Rocks Wonderland."

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 10:49 AM.

CRESTVIEW — Northwood Elementary and Richbourg E.S.E. School students have learned that literature lessons can be fun. Atlantic Coast Theatre for Youth members on Wednesday brought their rock musical adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" to Crestview.

WATCH Northwood Elementary School students dancing along with 'Alice Rocks Wonderland' when the touring production visited their school Sept. 18>>

"This (was) our first school-wide performance," Northwood and Richbourg Assistant Principal Barry Blackburn said, noting professional artists’ performances expose students to "real world" arts. Northwood was designated an arts and sciences academy several years ago and formally accepted the role with this school year.

Orlando-based A.C.T. actors and producers Don Gruel and his wife, Noel Holland, adapted the story, wrote the score and performed the adaptation. "Kids are inundated with TV and movies and video games," Holland said. "This gives them the idea that live theater — plays — are fun." Adapting a classic book like "Alice" for the stage also allows students to tie literature with a fun, live entertainment, Gruel said.

Some students prepared for the show, with first-graders making Cheshire masks in honor of the perpetually grinning Cheshire cat, a character in the book and musical.

Audience participation

Kids took part in the performance, with fourth-grader Sydney Faulk and first-grader Ethan Milonas selected from the audience to play the March Hare and Dormouse, respectively. Sydney, Ethan and their classmates danced during the Mad Tea Party scene to a tune called "The Mad-Hatterena," a take-off on the Los Del Rio line dance, "La Macarena."

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