REGINA — Get ready to go down the rabbit hole with Regina’s Do It With Class Young People’s Theatre.
Rob Ursan’s musical production of Alice in Wonderland runs October 28 to Oct. 30 and is a fan favourite.
“I actually wrote it for the company about 15 year ago,” recalls Ursan via a phone interview. “This is the third time that the company has done the show. It’s the typical Alice story, but I added a little extra to it, so that there’s kind of an overarch of how these characters in the book were actually more like real life characters then we might think, even though they seem to be completely insane most of the time.
“It’s almost completely the same (as previous runs of the show). Actually, each time we’ve done it — the last time I re-orchestrated the show, so it was the sound of the show was different — and for this particular production, I wrote three new songs, so it’s been a lot of fun to do. Also, you’re going to see a brand new cast of fresh, young, talented faces up on that stage.”
Alice even has a famous graduate — Tatiana Maslany, who was nominated for 2015 Emmy Award for her work on the television series Orphan Black.
“She was our very first Alice. It’s remarkable, and what always kills me every time I think about Tatiana is that, I’ve seen her a few times when she’s come back to Regina, and she is really just such a genuine, lovely person. It’s one of those things that I’m the most proud of with all the Do It With Class kids, is that so many of them turned out to be extraordinary human beings.”
The company itself is celebrating it’s 22nd season, and Ursan is thrilled that they’re back at Darke Hall on the University of Regina College Avenue campus.
“It’s really a wonderful thing. Do It With Class actually did its first full-length musicals at Darke Hall about 17, 18 years ago, as the company grew, at one point we were 80 strong and the space was a little small for all of us, but we’re back in Darke Hall which is a remarkable old building that has the most beautiful acoustics, and it’s a wonderful training place for young performers to find their theatrical voice in. It’s really exciting that these kids are going to get the opportunity to perform in this space.”
So, what’s so magical about working with young thespians?
“Personally, I think that I’ve learned every bit as much as I’ve taught over the years,” says Ursan. “I’ve learned so much by working with young performers, seeing how their enthusiasm can be turned into skill. It’s an incredible experience for me, and the kids always seem to have a great time putting these shows on and that really comes across on stage when you see the productions.”
Some other productions coming to life on stage this season include 3 Penny Opera, Grimm Tales and Sussical. But are there any future Tatiana Maslany’s in the cast?
“I think that there are. I really and truly do. There are so many of these young people who already have decided — this is primarily the junior company, so the kids are between the ages of 10-14 — and there are 12-year-olds who are already talking to me about which college they should go to study once they finish high school. They’ve decided this is going to be the course of their life, and it’s remarkable and truly wonderful.”
Alice In Wonderland
Do It With Class Young People’s Theatre
12:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Oct. 28 & 29
7:30 p.m., Oct. 30