Alice in Wonderland
From left, Kara Gozales, Scott Seitz and Zachariah Kessler star in DreamWrights' production of "Alice in Wonderland." (submitted)

Fantasy and foolishness take the stage for a magical journey in "Alice in Wonderland," opening on stage at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre, 100 Carlisle Ave., York.

The beloved children's tale is renewed in a show that guest director Paige Hoke says is enjoyable for all ages.

"The script we chose has a lot of humor for kids, but adults will really enjoy it, too," Hoke says.

To make the wondrous story come to life, an elaborate and visually-striking set was created by the theater and members in its community. Part of that set are numerous doors, each painted in "really cool ways" Hoke says, that are mini-art pieces in themselves.

"Everyone will enter through the 'rabbit hole' and feel like they're in Wonderland," she says.

The crew also constructed an enormous table for the tea party scene - one of Hoke's favorites. She says as a girl, her grandmother would hold tea parties with her, making the scene a nostalgic adventure. The table will also be featured during a special playlet and "tea time" breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 1, for children ages 3 to 6. The kids will be able to sit along with characters from the play at the table, make crafts and watch the scene as members at a zany tea party.

The characters, Hoke says, are larger than life and help to make the show fun. She says the Queen of Hearts, played by April Bupp and Carol Oldenburg, is one of her favorite characters from the show.

"It's such an iconic role," Hoke says. "[They're] doing a fantastic job."

She says the Mad Hatter and the March Hare should be crowd-favorites as well. All of the roles are big and "weird," but she says they're fun and crazy.

"In a good way," she adds, laughing.

The show is the first time Hoke has directed both casts - DreamWrights double-casts each of its shows to ensure as many performers as possible have the chance to participate. She says she grew up going to DreamWrights, and after returning about a year-and-a-half ago was happy to return to the theater.

"It was very exciting to have complete artistic control [of the show]," she says.

She says part of that artistic vision was making the show so visually rich. She wanted the set to be completely immersive to bring the audience along on Alice's adventure.

"I really hope people feel like they're a part of the world we've created," Hoke says.

Don't be late

"Alice in Wonderland" opens at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre, 100 Carlisle Ave., York.

Additional performances will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 21, 22, 28 and March 1, and at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 16, 22, 23, March 1 and 2. A special playlet and "tea time" breakfast for children will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 1.

Tickets: $8. $12 reserved seating. Information: 717-848-8623 or www.dreamwrights.org.