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Bonita & Estero Magazine

The Youth Theatre at Alliance for the Arts Presents Two Spring Shows

Apr 01, 2024 08:00AM ● By Ann Marie O’Phelan

Photos by Jamie Woolam, Senior at Cypress Lake High School; Graphic Design by Carmen Crussard

Witnessing youth theatre come to life is heartwarming and delightful. Watching the younger generation help create and perform the shows is inspiring to all. There are two shows this spring at the Youth Theatre at Alliance for the Arts that you won’t want to miss.  

Photos by Jamie Woolam, Senior at Cypress Lake High School; Graphic Design by Carmen Crussard

The first spring show, a non-musical stage play, The Storm in the Barn, is adapted by Eric Coble from the Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan. 

“The play tells the adventurous story of Jack, a small boy struggling to find his place and purpose in his family due to the Dust Bowl, which devastated his town and caused all his friends and neighbors to move away and robbed him of the opportunity to learn how to tend the land and be a contributing member of his family. Jack's world is shaken further when he makes an extraordinary discovery in an abandoned barn,” explains Youth Theatre Director Carmen Crussard. 

The play is filled with theatricality, whimsy, and heart and features a cast of eight young artists aged 11 to 18, and original music by Black Prairie. The Storm in the Barn has four performances from April 12-14, 2024.  

The second spring show Alice By Heart, is a brand new musical by award-winning composers Steven Sater & Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) with a book written by Jessie Nelson (The Waitress).  

Photos by Jamie Woolam, Senior at Cypress Lake High School; Graphic Design by Carmen Crussard

“This is a poignant and creative adaptation of the classic children's book Alice in Wonderland. Set in a London tube station during a WWII blitz bombing, young Alice Spencer seeks to comfort herself and her dying friend Alfred by reciting the story by Lewis Carroll. Their imagination takes over, and suddenly all the refugee Londoners are pulled into Wonderland,” says Crussard.   

A powerful testament to the force of imagination over reality, joy over fear, wonder over destruction, and love over loss, pushed forward by hauntingly beautiful music and storytelling, Alice By Heart is not one to miss. The show features a cast of 19 young artists who weave together this highly theatrical show, which runs from May 23-26, 2024. 

"We are a process-focused program," says Crussard. "Our goal is to develop young artists and help facilitate the discovery of their artistic processes. Students are highly invested in all aspects of the creation of theatre, so the final product is not merely a reflection of the director's vision but a tapestry of ideas and collaboration that we create together. And, of course, we also have lots of fun!"  Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Boulevard Fort Myers, 239-939-2787,  

Ann Marie O’Phelan is a SW Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.