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Step Into the Big Top


Limelight Theatre Company has a long history of creating and performing original works. This summer, they are putting their own twist on one of literatures most whimsical and enchanting stories, Alice in Wonderland. They will perform Alice the Wonderful on July 15 & 16 at 6pm and July 16 & 17 at 2pm in Hudson Crossing Park.

Set in the 1930s, the world of a young midwestern girl, Alice Parlier, turns upside down when the circus comes to town in this original adaptation of Lewis Carrol’s classic tale. Alice goes through the metaphorical looking glass as she confronts her own coming of age while a cast of kooky characters try to convince her to join the Tweedle Bros. Circus Spectacular.

Writers/directors Michael Leali and Jacob Lantz were committed to researching American life in the thirties. The historical and cultural impact of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the excitement and wonder surrounding the traveling circuses of the day make this telling of the story a distinctly American fairy tale.

Leali and Lantz translated familiar characters from Wonderland into representations of specific historical individuals or amalgamations of characteristics of circus types. The Queen of Hearts comes to life in the character Queenie, who is brash, powerful, and can easily lose her head. Queenie, unlike her character inspiration, shows a softer side, particularly in her relationships with Alice and the dormouse character, Dora Muse. Likewise, the Cheshire Cat has become Clarice, an acrobatic contortionist who will slink in and out of the show, aiding and abetting as it suits her.

The actors bringing these roles to life are ages 12 and up, with several family members performing together in this family friendly show. To prepare for their roles, all cast members received acrobatic training from Actor/Director (and Oswego High School alum) Anthony Kayer who has worked for Lifeline Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Lookingglass Theatre Company, and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. The skills that they learned in weight sharing, stacking, & juggling have been incorporated into the show.

Playing off of the circus environment, Alice the Wonderful will be performed outdoors in Hudson Crossing Park. This will be Limelight’s second outdoor performance, after last summer’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Audiences should bring their own blankets and chairs for a Ravinia-like experience with live theatre. They are encouraged to pack a picnic basket full of favorite snacks and beverages, or buy some popcorn from Kenny Corn, who will provide concessions at each performance.

What will Alice choose? To become a rising starlet on the high tops, or return home with her sister Abigail where everyday life awaits? Find out when you step into the big top at Alice the Wonderful! Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased online or at the show. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or contact Cori Veverka.

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