While Blanchette is directing and choreographing the show, she reached out to Andover High School senior Carter Letsky to do music direction.
“Carter is very talented,” Blanchette says. “He’s an amazing piano player and stage performer himself .... He has really risen to the occasion and the kids love him.”
Of course, the kids are also fans of their director, says Sousa, who calls Blanchette “a true professional.”
“She is kind, patient with the kids and shifts gears into `Alice’ as if nothing else is going on in her life,” Sousa says. “The kids love her and you can just tell that she has the experience to make this group a phenomenal success.”
In addition to the 28-member cast, all but two of whom hail from Andover, Blanchette, in true Andover Youth Services fashion, has also tapped local students as crew members and volunteers to assist with lighting, sets and costumes. The result is a full-fledged theater experience for everyone involved.
“It’s a special show since we are really incorporating students from start to finish with not only performing, but the music pit and lighting. One cast member is even sewing and hemming costumes,” Sousa says. “Everyone should come see what a great job these kids have done.”
IF YOU GO
What: “Alice In Wonderland Jr.” presented by Andover Youth Services TheatreWorks
When: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8 and 9, 7 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 10, 2 p.m.
Where: World War I Memorial Auditorium next to Doherty Middle School, 50 Bartlet St., Andover
How: Tickets $10; available in advance in Andover at Learning Express, 32 Park St., or Andover Youth Service, 37 Pearson St.; or by emailing Kim Sousa at email@example.com.
A very `Mad’ cast
Cheshire Cat 1: Max Tweedale
Cheshire Cat 2: Farrah Sousa
Cheshire Cat 3: Sadie Rooney
Mathilda: Alyson Hall
Alice: Christabel Preller
Tall Alice: Jenna Shorey