Pure Imagination

Pure Imagination

(Staff Photo: Richard Davis) The Arts Live Theatre cast of "Willy Wonka" during a dress rehearsal Tuesday, Nov. 16 at the UArk Ballroom in Fayetteville.

‘Willy Wonka’ takes you back to being a kid

By Richard Davis

TFW Staff Writer

Sometimes, it’s good to feel like a kid again.
I can’t think of a better way to induce that feeling — that spirit, that energy, that infectious enthusiasm — than the Arts Live Theatre production of “Willy Wonka.”
At the dress rehearsal on Tuesday, kid actors bounded about practicing lines, trying out dance moves, adjusting costumes and hair and working on staging arrangements with a zeal that would put many adults to shame. As Maryclaire Allen sang as the title character Wonka, “Come with me, and you’ll see a world of pure imagination …”
And luckily, Mark Landon Smith, Arts Live executive artistic director, and Missy Gipson, an Arts Live resident teaching artist and “Wonka” director, aren’t a part of that zeal-lacking grown up group. The two spent the evening deftly channeling all that kid energy, rather than trying to suppress it.
The result is a production that’s as fun and sweet as the substance at the heart of the tale of Wonka’s tale: candy.
The Free Weekly spends a lot of time with grownup pursuits: evaluating restaurants, researching beer, examining adult relationships, searching for topics and stories that “push the envelope,” hanging out in bars and mocking racism. It was good to feel like a kid again.
Do yourself a favor and come be a kid too, if only for a little while.

Production dates

▲  Thursday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m.
▲  Friday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m.
▲  Saturday, Nov. 20, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
▲  Sunday, Nov. 21, 2 p.m.
All shows take place at the UArk Ballroom on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.

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In 2000, the mission of Arts Live Theatre was redesigned, offering children’s and youth theater by children and youth. In addition to productions, Arts Live Theatre offered after school classes in theater.
Currently celebrating 27 years in Northwest Arkansas, Arts Live Theatre is the region’s only dedicated children’s and youth theater company. Arts Live is housed in a 6,000-square-foot facility, complete with classrooms, black box theater, dressing rooms, actors’ lounge, scene and costume shop, props storage, a full kitchen and administrative offices.
In 2010 Arts Live, with the acquisition of its new space, increased its production season from three mainstage productions to four mainstage and five second stage productions. In addition to productions, Arts Live offers a series of after school, spring break and summer camps for grades K-12 in theater production, acting, television production, radio theater, reader’s theater and more.
Production auditions and class and camp enrollment is open to any interested student grades K-12. Arts Live also offers the Bumpin Scholarship Program to assist in class and participation fees.

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