Going Mad: Alice in Hollywoodland Review – Students Steal the Show

The Ensemble of GOING MAD: ALICE IN HOLLYWOODLAND - Photo by Johnny Montage
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Written by Richard Alger and directed by Tina Kronis, co-founders of Theatre Movement Bazaar, GOING MAD: ALICE IN HOLLYWOODLAND is a joint production of Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy. Established in 1929, the theater training program at Los Angeles City College is one of the oldest and most respected training programs in the country with many alumni who have gone on to successful careers in entertainment. Since 2008, Odyssey Theatre has partnered with the Academy to provide students with the opportunity to work in a professional theater. Made possible by an LA County Creative Recovery LA grant funded by the LA County Board of Supervisors through the American Rescue Plan Act, the two-weekend engagement at the Odyssey Theatre begins on May 16, 2024.

Norene Flowers and Elizabeth Mackessy – Photo by Johnny Montage

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass,” the play follows the journey of Allice (Norene Flowers), trying to make her dreams come true in the court of the entertainment industry, a fickle, unpredictable, and often cruel master. What will happen if the backlot accidentally becomes an enchanted, magical, and surreal land? A land featuring the Mad Hatter (Adam Lopatka), the quirky hare (Sam Sooin Yang), the “Chessie” chess queen (Elizabeth Mackessy), Mr. Leon (Tracychapman Kamenga), Mouse (Emma Baker), Tony Dumm (Manuel Marin), Tony Dee (Art Sandoval), and others too numerous to name. As Alice struggles to gain recognition and success even if her “best friend” Regina (Victoria Davidoff) stands in her way, the madness only escalates as the denizens of Hollywoodland sing, dance, and go raucously nuts. The spirited cast is rounded out by Alex Bravo (Max), Delvin Gamboa (Ocho), Tony Gonzalez (Humphry), Kat Karnchanasej (Cuatro), Cara Schell Sandefur (Blanche), Markel Sealy (Rex), and Cristian Venegas (Whitely Depus).

Adam Lopatka, Emma Baker, and Sam Yang – Photo by Johnny Montage

Tina Kronis helms the production with an eye to maximizing the vigor, verve, and vitality of the young, athletic student cast. Maureen Weiss’ set design is flexible, enhanced by John A. Garofalo’s lighting, Luz Stehelin’s costumes, and Peter Simpson Cook’s graphic designs. Sound is handled by Rebecca Kessin, Director Tina Kronis, and playwright Richard Alger. The passionate and energetic cast does an animated job of presenting the goofy merriment. Of special note was the excellent choreography which pervaded the story as the entire crew moved as one attached to invisible strings.

Norene Flowers, Tony Gonzalez, and Manny Marin – Photo by Johnny Montage

GOING MAD: ALICE IN HOLLYWOODLAND is a fascinating preview of coming attractions as the students of LACC’s Theatre Academy show what they’ve got to the world. Their enthusiasm and excitement auger well for a possible future in the entertainment industry.

Norene Flowers and Alex Bravo – Photo by Johnny Montage

GOING MAD: ALICE IN HOLLYWOODLAND runs through May 25, 2024, with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025. Tickets are $15 and $25. For information and reservations, call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or go online.


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