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Wonderland at Lakeland

Fall through the looking glass and join Alice and other Wonderland characters at Lakeland High School this weekend.

For the school’s first musical in years, the students at Lakeland will present a 2-hour show based on Lewis Carroll’s book “Through the Looking Glass.”

“Watching the kids do this really makes you feel like a kid again,” said drama teacher and director Sara Sims. “For those of us who grew up with Alice, it really reawakens a lot of those childhood memories, and for children it brings dreams to life.”

The students’ 10-weeks of practice will culminate in four show times this week. Shows are planned for Thursday through Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and a 2:30 p.m. Sunday show.

“The students have all worked incredibly hard on this,” Sims said. “They’ve been working on memorizing their lines, music and making their costumes for weeks. This is it now.”

The show will be the first musical at Lakeland in years, Sims said.

“I don’t know when the last one was,” she said. “This is the first one in years and the first one I’ve done since working here, but this is what I went to school for. It’s been so neat to see the kids learning and growing.”

“It’s one of the most unique projects we’ve put on,” said the kitten and assistant director, Ian Cross, who has been in the theatre program for a year. “We’ve put on plays as normal people, but this is the first time we’ve adopted totally different kinds of characters or been in a musical. It’s been great to see a whole other set of acting skills from everyone.”

And since a musical isn’t all acting skills, some of the actors on stage are first-timers from the school’s chorale.

Such is the case for Alice, who is played by Jessica Reynolds, a first time actress and Cavalier Singer.

“I’ve sung in concerts before, but this is my first time on the stage acting,” Reynolds said. “I’ve learned that so much goes into putting something like this on. I’m practicing my lines and music whenever I’m not in school or at work. People go home and work on props. During the week, school gets out at 2:15 p.m., and we’re usually here until about 5 p.m. It’s really amazing to see everything come together.”

While Sims said there have been a few hiccups along the way, things are rolling steady and the students are ready for their opening night.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to show people a perfect show,” Reynolds said. “I hope they see how bad we want this.”

Tickets, $6 for adults and $4 for children, will be available at the door, from cast members or at the school.

Children are invited to a Mad Hatter Tea Party, to join the Wonderland characters and enjoy cupcakes, pretzels, tea, juice and more. Tea party tickets are available for $5 by calling 376-5525.