Every summer, volunteers team up with scores of our community’s folks living with developmental disabilities, and pull off something utterly amazing. In a single week, they rehearse and stage a full musical production.
This summer, the Icicle Players present Alice in Wonderland. This marks the 11th year of theater for the troop, and the first time performing Lewis Carroll’s classic. Past plays include Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, and The Jungle Book. “You can’t help but be inspired by the actors,” says Director Mandi Wickline. “Working with this population helps me appreciate life – and theater as it relates to life.”
For the participants, Theater Camp is a time that they look forward to, and share fond memories of, all year round. Chris Amerson, who has acted in all ten of the previous productions, told me it’s all about “having fun with friends, and showing people something they haven’t seen before.” For the actors, Theater Camp offers an opportunity to showcase their many talents. “This group shows up because they want to be onstage, and many haven’t had the opportunity except through Theater Camp” says Mandi. “I say welcome everyone in, as each has a unique energy and personality to contribute.”
Chris and Melissa Ellis both agree that this opportunity has been a boon for their confidence. When I ask Melissa, who charmed the audience last year as Wendy in Peter Pan, if she gets nervous, she gives me a flat “no,” and a chuckle. “I have my friends and my helper on stage and we practice a lot.”
Mandi summarizes the importance of Theater Camp telling me “it’s all about telling a story and inspiring our audience. Watching how everyone responds to the music and gets into the dancing and learns how to relate to each other onstage is really amazing every year.”
This year, you can catch Alice in Wonderland at 7 pm this Friday, June 26th and at 2 pm on Saturday June 27th at Cascade High School in Leavenworth, WA. Tickets will be available at the door for a donation.