The show has seen various hardships during the preparation process for the show.
Quincy University’s Theatre Department will be performing the play “Alice in Wonderland” on May 2 in MacHugh Theatre.
The version being performed was written by director Connie Phillips. It was previously performed at the Quincy Community Theatre over 15 years ago with a cast of all children.
The show features the storyline of a little girl, Alice, who ends up lost in a mystical land and meets a wide array of unique characters. The show will feature original dialogue and music written by Phillips. The part of Alice will be played by Ann Schuhriemen.
This show is considered to be an extremely special one to the department as it will be Connie Phillips’ final show at Quincy University. She will be retiring from her teaching position at the school after serving as the Theatre Department’s director for 15 years.
“It was a really hard decision for me, but it feels like the right time,” Phillips said.
While a very bittersweet time for the students involved in the department, Phillips’ retirement has been a source of motivation for them to make the show as impressive as possible. According to student Colleen McCormack, who will be playing Tweedle Dee, extra effort has been put into the set design, as well as the acting performance, to make Phillips’ last directorial work at the school a very memorable one.
“We all love Connie and no show will be the same without her, so we want to put our all into our last show with her,” McCormack said.
Students have all put extra work into make the show all it can be, assisting in costume design, building props, and taking on multiple roles.
Not has Phillips’ retirement motivated students to put more effort in the show, the fear of not performing in MacHugh also fueled students’ fires. In February, a water pipe in MacHugh Theatre burst, flooding the facility and forcing the students to move all of their equipment, classes and rehearsals to the Connie Niemann Center for Music at North Campus.
While the flood was devastating to all the students working on Alice in Wonderland, it was even worse for Phillips and the students who participated in the show from the previous semester, “In Review: A Musical Memory”. The theatre was discovered to have mold last semester and sent the department to North Campus. It had been cleaned out just in time for the show’s premiere.
“The mold created so much stress within the theatre department. We weren’t sure if we’d get back in MacHugh in time for the show,” Hale Brown, who will play the March Hare and Mock Turtle, said. “You can understand how hard everyone took it when we got put out of MacHugh for the second time in only a few months.”
Luckily, the theatre was fixed in enough time for the department to get back in and carry on with rehearsals and set construction.
While the students are very excited to finally present their months of hard work to the general public, the show has already been preformed for various elementary schools including St. Francis School and Blessed Sacrament.
“The schools we’ve performed for have loved what we’ve done so far. But since there’s actually a lot of adult humor in the show, it’ll be nice to perform for adult audiences for once,” Suzanne Molinaro, who will play Tweedle Dum, said.
Performing among the cast will be about six students who are new to performing on the MacHugh Theatre stage. A couple of these new actors have previously worked on department shows as backstage crew members.
“I usually helped build the set and work the lights or sound, but this time, Connie said that I should try acting in the show. It was a different for me, but it was fun,” Cody Pezold, who will play the White Rabbit and King of Hearts, said.
Other new students were encouraged to join the show after trying acting in Phillips’ Introduction to Theatre course.
“I did theatre in high school, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it in college. I took Connie’s Intro to Theatre class and thought that I should try doing Alice in Wonderland; I loved it,” Corinna Ordonia, who will play the Doormouse, said.
Other students participating in the show are returning to the MacHugh stage after a long hiatus. Senior Emily Freier, who will play the Duchess, last acted in a department show during her Freshman year.
“I haven’t been in a show here since I was a freshman, but everyone’s been so welcoming, it felt like I never left the Theatre Department,” Freier said.
The show has not only gotten the many new students involved, but alumni have also come back to help out with the production. Samantha Pillars, a long-time participant in the theatre department was asked to come back in assist with backstage work. Phillips was missing a person to be the lighting operator and Pillars was more than willing to step up.
“There are so many people who helped to make this production possible,” Phillips said. “It makes me think of how many lives the performing arts have affected and I hope these kids keep performing and doing theatre in some form.”
Phillips said that she’s extremely proud of this semester’s production and can’t wait for the general public to see everything her students have prepared.
Alice in Wonderland will be playing at the MacHugh Theatre in Francis Hall on May 2 at 2:00pm.