bg wonderland webMore than 60 student-actors at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts will put a new spin on a classic tale this weekend as they present their spring musical, “Wonderland!”

With Birch Grove drama teacher Kris Holsen and music teacher Ben Pogatshnik once again helming the production, students will take audiences through the looking glass and into a colorful world filled with colorful characters.

“It is always a challenge to find just the right show for our kids,” Holsen added. “We are looking for something age-appropriate—with lots of parts for a large cast—and a good variety of interesting character parts to challenge our growing actors. ‘Wonderland!’ checked off all these boxes.”

Nearly 100 students auditioned for the show in late November. Since rehearsals began in December, Holsen said she has seen students grow in several different ways. Teamwork, she added, has been an integral part of the show’s success thus far.

“We have a lot of new actors in the show this year, along with some we have worked with for many years,” Holsen said. “They have learned to help each other by listening and trying out ideas together. Our students helped to develop almost all of the choreography in this show. It’s a really fun and rewarding part of our process to send them out in small groups to create dances and then assemble their ideas into our finished product.”

Aside from the talented performers who light up the stage, there is a crew of behind-the-scenes support that helps bring “Wonderland!” to life.

“We are so thankful for everyone who help us make it happen,” Holsen said. “Theater is a family and it takes a village. We love doing this together as a Birch Grove community.”

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“Wonderland!” performance schedule:

  • March 9 at 7 p.m.
  • March 10 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • March 11 at 2 p.m.

PHOTO: Zaria Gladen (left) as the Mad Hatter and Anika Olson (right) as Alice in Birch Grove's 2018 spring musical, 'Wonderland!'