‘Alice’ opens next weekend at CCCC

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

‘Alice’ opens next weekend at CCCCMembers of the cast of “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” rehearse a number for the upcoming musical — Photo by Laura Austin

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Local theatergoers are invited to shake off their worldly burdens next weekend when Ridgecrest Musical Enrichment Society’s Rising Stars present “Alice in Wonderland Jr.”

“It’s important to cultivate our imaginations — to tap into our childhood senses of wonder and playfulness,” said Director Marla Cosner. “We don’t have a lot of opportunities to promote that in our culture. But for our performers, and anyone who gets to watch them, this is the perfect chance to do just that!”

In its fourth year, the Rising Stars program has branched out into a new venue at Cerro Coso Community College. Once the scene of annual childhood productions, the CCCC Lecture Center will serve as the stage for “Alice” after being temporarily closed for renovations.

“The college has been working really closely with RMES to get the venue performance ready,” said Cosner. “There are some great advantages — including the unique acoustics and stadium seating, which gave us more options for how we stage the action.”

For the first time, the Rising Stars will also be performing with a live orchestra. “Our community volunteers have put together a wonderful ensemble — which has been great for the cast, but will also be enjoyable for the audience.”

RMES began more than 10 years ago as a way for local performing arts alumni to raise money for local programs. Since then the organization has raised more than $150,000 for Sierra Sands Unified School District, to be spent exclusively on performing arts projects.

Several years ago, Cosner envisioned broadening the RMES mission to include an annual youth-only production to give children ages 7-15 more performance opportunities. This year’s production will also feature the largest-ever cast, with nearly 100 youth performing in two separate casts.

“I’m looking forward to seeing everything come together — the hundreds of hours from parents and kids coming to fruition, finally seeing the magic come to life on stage,” she said.

“I think the attention to detail — the set paintings, prop construction, effects and costumes — by our parent volunteers has just been incredible.

“Color and whimsy are so central to this story, and I just love the way all these elements help capture that.”

The show opens Friday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m. Subsequent performances are March 9, 15 and 16 at 6:30 p.m., and March 9 and 16 at 1 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before curtain.

Tickets, available at Red Rock Books, are $8 for general admission, $6 for RMES members and $7 for military, students and seniors.

In keeping with tradition, audience members will also be able to vote for the next Rising Stars production. The show options are being kept secret until ballots can be cast.

Story First Published: 2019-03-01