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Theatre Arlington family-friendly productions begin with ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Three actors in costume holding up teacups. On the left, one is dressed as a rabbit. In the center, one is dressed as Alice. On the right, one is dressed as a hatter.
Gloria Adame
Courtesy/Theatre Arlington
Actors Landry Beckley, Jude Lewis and Bradford Reilly take on the roles of March Hare, Alice and Mad Hatter for Theatre Arlington's "Alice in Wonderland" production, which runs March 29-April 14.

Jude Lewis was 7 when she started attending children’s camps and acting classes with Theatre Arlington.

Lewis didn’t realize her passion for theater then. She knew she liked Disney classics such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Sleeping Beauty.” But she called “Alice in Wonderland” an all-time favorite, remembering the scene where flowers sing to Alice. Playing the lead was a dream role to her.

A decade later, Lewis realized her dream.

She was cast as the title character in Theatre Arlington’s production of “Alice in Wonderland,” which opens this month. The musical, adapted from the book by Lewis Caroll, follows the journey of Alice as she falls through the rabbit hole into a surreal and fantastical world. The production is part of this season’s Family Series at Theatre Arlington.

“It’s so important for youth audiences to be able to come see shows. That’s how I began theater: My mom took me to see ‘Cinderella,’ and I was like, ‘This is awesome. I want to do this,’” Lewis said. “Then, 12 years later, here I am.”

If you go:

  • What: Theatre Arlington’s production of “Alice in Wonderland”
  • When: 
    • 7:30 p.m. March 29, April 5 and 12 
    • 2 p.m. March 30, April 6, 7, 13 and 14
    • 10 a.m. April 6, 9, 10 and 13
    • 12:30 p.m. April 9 and 10 
  • Where: 316 W. Main St., Arlington
  • Price: $15; $12 for groups of 10+; students can purchase tickets 15 minutes before curtain for $5.

Visit here for more details.

Theatre Arlington has put on family-friendly productions over the years, but this is the second year that shows are being staged under the official Family Series name, said Steven Morris, production director and executive director at the theater.

In the first two weekends of November, the theater will present “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley JR.” The play, the second production in the Family Series, will be performed by a cast ages 8 to 18, Morris said.

“My hope is that one day we’ll have a second performing space, and we can have a lot more programs geared toward children,” he said.

Theatre Arlington’s “Alice in Wonderland” will be performed by adults, Morris said. Between the colorful sets and characters with big personalities, he’s having fun corralling all that energy.

“You get to just really exaggerate and be kind of nonsensical, larger-than-life characters,” he said.

The leading character resonated with Lewis. Alice is thrust into a world where people can be mean to her, but she takes everything in stride and has so much curiosity in her, Lewis said.

“I was very precocious, and I was gonna say how I felt about things,” she said. “And I was going to do what I wanted to.”

A woman poses on a table laden with cups and napkins.
Gloria Adame
Courtesy/Theatre Arlington
Jude Lewis will play the lead role in Theatre Arlington’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

In the past, characters in family-friendly shows have sometimes interacted with the audience in the middle of the play, Morris said. After the show, actors stayed in costume and in character to meet children in the lobby.

“That’s fun for the actors, because they’ve got to be creative and stay in character, but they’ve got to kind of make it up as they go according to what the kids asked them,” he said.

Lewis is excited about performing for younger audiences because she likes working with children. Her next hope is to be in a production where adult and child actors are in the ensemble together.

That’s how her passion for acting ignited when she watched “Cinderella” 12 years ago.

Dang Le is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at or @DangHLe. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.