Theater Review: Alice in Wonderland at Aurora Players-Theatre in Hamlin Park

July 10, 2018

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Everyone knows of East Aurora for its small-town charm, their wonderful history and architecture, their ability to bring the community together and now LIVE Theatre in Hamlin Park.  Aurora Players is pleased to bring the community a new project for the summer months entitled—Aurora Players: Theatre in Hamlin Park. This new venture will serve to bring FREE theatre to the Western New York community and live up to the on-going mission of the theatre troupe to provide a family-friendly production performed by local adult actors on the outdoor stage adjacent to the Roycroft Pavilion.  So, bring a comfortable lawn chair, a comfy blanket, some of your favorite munchies and watch the magic as it unfolds by the talented cast of Alice in Wonderland.

The show begins when the lead character Alice, played by Kelsey Giampoala,  walks through a mirror and is transported into a magical land where she goes on an adventure, encountering interesting and zany characters as well as various Queens. Giampoala is well suited for the role of Alice and has the audience, especially the children, on the edge of their seat at times. Kelsey is on stage for most of the show and maintains the character of Alice with ease.

The first character she meets is the White Rabbit, played by Mary Loliger, who appears throughout the story and acts as Alice’s guide. Loliger has been in numerous shows across WNY and brings lots and lots of energy to the role of the White Rabbit.

Others characters we meet along the way are The Mad Hatter, The March Hare, The Chesire Cat, a Caterpillar, Humpty Dumpty, The Dutchess, The Frog, Tweedle Dee/Dum and the Queen of Hearts.   Each character teaches Alice something about life and how to handle life’s challenges along the way.

Want to meet the characters of Alice in Wonderland?  Take a look!  CLICK TO MEET THE CHARACTERS

Two of my favorite characters in this show are the Mad Hatter (played by Rick Lattimer) and Humpty-Dumpty/Caterpillar (played by Mike Starzynski).  Both actors bring a generous amount of experience to this East Aurora stage and knock it out of the park (No pun intended!).   Lattimer makes the Mad Hatter come to life and is a well-rounded character actor.  It will not be a surprise to me if we see Lattimer in future shows across WNY, especially with his level of talent.  As for Starzynski, he plays two roles in this show both of which are fun to watch and mesmerizing.

This show is filled with other local and professional actors from across Western New York to include: Jessica Rasp, Alyssa Walsh, Lillian Edmunds, David Hall, Danielle Burning, Dan Barone, Gail Stengel, Bob Bozek, Dan Morris, Shelby Ebeling and others.

John Szablewski makes his directorial debut with this East Aurora show.  He allows each of these characters to come alive and shine with an overall successful performance.

I certainly cannot end this piece without giving the proper attention and kudos to the Production’s Costumer, Callie Bush.  Bush has an attention for detail which is quite obvious by the looks of each costume piece.  Each of the costumes are precise and creative.  I was so impressed with this part of the production that I had the opportunity to meet with Callie one-on-one to discuss her costume choices and the glitz she brings to this production. Everyone thinks that an actor alone makes the character come to life but in this case the costumes take every character to the next level in this magical production.

Alice in Wonderland is produced by Aurora Players-Theatre In Hamlin Park and is presented on the Roycroft Bandstand in Hamlin Park in East Aurora. The Show continues to run on July 21, 22, August 4, 5, 18, 19.

Tickets are: FREE

For more information: Click HERE for more Information on ALICE IN WONDERLAND

********All Photo’s courtesy of JIM BUSH PHOTOGRAPHY******

       Behind the Scenes of  “Alice in Wonderland” with an interview with Callie Bush, the Costumer. 

TB: What makes you interested in Theatrical Costuming and did you go to school for Theatre or Theatre technology?

CB: “I have been sewing since I was a little girl. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Niagara University with a focus on Costume design and construction, which really started my passion for costuming in theatre. While at Niagara I had the privilege of studying my craft abroad in London. Most recently, I have worked with various local theatre companies such as Actor Anonymous on “Tony and Tina’s Wedding,” and The Historic Lockport Palace Theatre on “Addams Family.” I have also had the pleasure of working on various traveling shows at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Kleinhans Music Hall with Ronan Tynan, and First Niagara Center for shows such as, Rihanna’s “Diamonds World Tour.“ Within the past two years I have expanded my profession into commercial wardrobe with Honey and Punch. This lead me to work on my first movie set “The True Adventures of Wolfboy.”

TB: What was your favorite part about Costuming Alice in Wonderland?
CB: “This show has been so much fun to work on. Fantasy costumes have always been my favorite because it gives me freedom to bring well known story characters to life. My true favorite part of working on this show has been working with such amazing and talented people. This cast and crew is full of true professionals who made my job easy and enjoyable.”

TB: What was your favorite character to costume in this show?

CB:  “Picking one favorite costume is difficult because I truly loved creating each character for different reasons. But if I had to pick a favorite, I would have to say the caterpillar is the winner. This costume was my most challenging to design due to the many components that are a part of it. Because of the challenge, this costume is the one I am most proud of. The actor, Mike Starzynski, mastered working with the piece. His movements match the design perfectly and together this character comes to life in a perfect way.”

TB: What was the production process like in costuming Alice in Wonderland?
CB: “Producer, Justyne Harris and Director, John Szablewski met with me early on to discuss the show. With their vision and my designs we worked together to bring these characters to life. This show could not be possible without their leadership. I then met with the actors and asked them how they were portraying their character. Taking these elements, I pulled everyday clothing and started building whimsical elements to transform them into each character. Suddenly, a simple hat became rabbit ears and a tuxedo turned into a caterpillar with multiple arms.”

“I am fortunate to be a part of such an amazing production and I am so grateful to everyone involved to bring this story to life. I can make a costume but it takes a whole team to make them work on stage.”



About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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