‘Alice’ drops into the Kamas Theater next week
June 8, 2012
The Kamas Theater will be transformed into a different world when Utah Youth/Children’s Theatre present a nine-day run of a musical based on Lewis Carroll’s "Alice in Wonderland" that starts June 14.
The theater, run by Kevin and Sharee Harris, is exploring new ways to utilize the venue and to raise money to purchase a digital projector.
This is the first time the theater, which still screens standard films, will take a trip down the rabbit hole for a live performance.
"I met Kevin at the Park City Summit County Arts Advisory Board meeting at the start of the year," said Pamela Lockwood, director of Utah Youth/Children’s Theatre. "He showed up and talked about the theater, so, I took a trip out and thought that it had some possibilities."
Lockwood, who has presented plays in the Prospector Theatre in Park City, wasn’t sure what an audience would be like in Kamas, so she felt it was important to start with a children’s theatre production.
"We held auditions last month and we had 40 kids show up for the first day," Lockwood said. "It blew me away, because I think in Park City the most I’ve had show up for a first audition was seven. So, when 40 showed up, I thought to myself, ‘This my work’ and we went for it."
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It is an original production that features scenes inspired by other "Alice in Wonderland" stories.
"We have 30 kids in the cast and they are super talented," Lockwood said. "The kids come from Oakley, Francis, and Coalville and they all can sing and match pitch, which blew me away."
The cast is comprised of younger actors.
"Our oldest kids have just turned 13 and the youngest is, I think, five," Lockwood said. "The average age is 11 and they are doing quite well, and I know some of this is really new to them."
Still, Lockwood is amazed at how much the children have responded to her directing.
"I tell them that we’re not doing children’s theatre, real theatre," she said. "I tell them that I’m not being nice to them so they can do a lousy show. The purpose is to do a great show, and once we get going, we go. They have been so accepting and have worked their little tails off. The kids are quick learners and really good to work with."
Lockwood always learns from kids when she directs them in a project and this experience is no different.
"Children are the greatest teachers in the world because they are 100 percent honest," she said with a laugh. "But working with these particular kids out here in Kamas has reminded me that everybody, no matter where they live, has some kind of talent they want to share."
While getting the cast together wasn’t as big a challenge as Lockwood thought, she was faced with the task of how to light the Kamas Theater stage.
"We approached it like we did at the Prospector Theatre, which didn’t have lighting fixtures on the set," she said. "We had to figure out some improvisational lighting because the Kamas Theater wasn’t designed for live productions. We’ll have to work with sound as well, but it will be fine."
Another concern was making sure the sets could be moved every night to accommodate the 8 p.m. film screenings that would follow the live production.
"Most of the sets are constructed in a way so they will not be in the way of the exits or the screen," Lockwood said. "Some set pieces will be on the stage, but we’ll remove them so the films can still be shown. They won’t be heavy so we can do it every day."
Sharee Harris said working with Lockwood on the production is a dream come true.
"Kevin and I had wanted to do something like this from the beginning and most people I talked with told us it wouldn’t work in the theater," Harris said. "They told us to get a beer license and have bands play and do that type of thing, but I wanted to do more children’s theatre type stuff.
"We’re pretty excited and if this works out, we want to do more shows like this with Pam," she said. "We feel this is just the beginning."
In the meantime, the theater has raised a little more than $2,000 for a $65,000 digital projector, and they have began working with the American Family Credit Union so people who donate to the theater can get a tax write off.
To donate to the Kamas Theater, make checks out to American United CU and write "Kamas Theater" in the memo line and send them to American United CU, 500 S. Foothill Dr., Salt Lake City, Utah 84148
"We also have a donation jar at the theater so people put money in there, too," Harris said.
Utah Youth/Children’s Theatre will present "Alice in Wonderland" at the Kamas Theater, 30 N. Main Street, Kamas, from Thursday, June 14, through Saturday, June 23, except on Sunday, June 17. Evening curtain is 6 p.m. and there will be two Saturday matinees June 16 and 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults, $6 for children and $7 for students and senior citizens at the door. A family pass is also available for $39. Tickets can also be purchased online before June 13 for $6 by visiting http://alice2012kamas.eventbrite.com.