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Reimagined ‘Alice in Wonderland’ playing at Glendale Centre Theatre

Reimagined ‘Alice in Wonderland’ playing at Glendale Centre Theatre
Spencer Ty Pierson as the Cheshire Cat joins Rebecca Thomas as Alice in a scene from "Alice in Wonderland" at the Glendale Centre Theatre. (Courtesy of Brianne Johnson)

Carter Thomas, a 2018 Crescenta Valley High graduate, frequent local performer as well as an actor who has landed roles in national tours, is helming a new, updated musical version of “Alice in Wonderland,” which he wrote and and directed, and it will be performed at the Glendale Centre Theatre through June 15.

It’s part of the venue’s children’s theater season.

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Thomas has been in many productions at the local theater, including “A Christmas Carol,” in which he initially portrayed Tiny Tim in 2007 and has since played a variety of older male characters. He’s also performed in “The King and I,” “Bye, Bye Birdie” and “Guys and Dolls.”

“I love the family atmosphere at Glendale Centre Theatre,” the 19-year-old said. “It really is such a family-friendly environment that is appropriate for everyone … It feels like home.”

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In an 11-month national tour of “Mary Poppins,” Thomas played Michael Banks, and he has also done a national tour as a singer with the Radio City Rockettes.

In his new version of “Alice,” the title character is modern-day young woman, using a cellphone and such.

Other classic characters are portrayed from other decades. The Mad Hatter, for example, has a punk-rock vibe from the 1980s and Tweedledum and Tweedledee are more colorful from the 1990s and perform rap songs. The Cheshire Cat is a throwback to the 1970s.

Thomas said he started thinking about doing an updated version of “Alice” about eight years ago. As it started to take shape, his sister, Tracey, who is now 25, started work on writing the music for the 90-minute production, which has an intermission.

Carter Thomas, a frequent performer and graduate of Crecenta Valley High School, has written and directed an updated version of "Alice in Wonderland," now playing at the Glendale Centre Theatre
Carter Thomas, a frequent performer and graduate of Crecenta Valley High School, has written and directed an updated version of "Alice in Wonderland," now playing at the Glendale Centre Theatre (Courtesy of Peter Michelena)

When the Glendale Centre Theatre was looking for a children’s theater production in its spring time slot, Thomas threw his hat in the ring.

He said Brenda Dietlein, the theater’s executive producer, “has just been so great, letting us do our own thing,” Carter Thomas said.

Currently, Carter Thomas is pursuing an acting career, landing some gigs in commercials and taking classes with the Groundlings.

Performances of “Alice in Wonderland” are at 10 a.m. on select Saturdays at the Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale.

For more information, call (818) 244-8481 or visit glendalecentretheatre.com.

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