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5 Questions with Alice in Wonderland Actor Dean Holt

5 Questions with Alice in Wonderland Actor Dean Holt


For over 150 years, Alice in Wonderland has captivated fans with his quirkiness. The journey to get there, however, took almost as long as it took for Alice to fall down that rabbit hole.

First written by fantasy extraordinaire Lewis Carroll in 1865, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland tells the story of the titular Alice as she explores the strange and unpredictable world of Wonderland, and all the tea parties, flamingo croquet matches, and rose painting sessions that come with it. Populated by equally unique anthropomorphic creatures, she goes through many ups and downs (literally) before learning to embrace her unique qualities, rather than running away from them.

Despite the book's worldwide popularity today, the book received mostly negative reviews upon its initial publication, with critics calling Carroll's story pure nonsense or overly outlandish nonsense. Even when Walt Disney himself greenlit the film adaptation, releasing Alice in Wonderland in 1951, the film could not escape the shadow of its literary predecessor, being considered a box office failure. It was not until the 1960s and 1970s that the film became extremely popular in the movie rental market, attracting widespread attention and renewed popularity. of the hippie community for its metaphors of liberation from societal constraints and its colorful and psychedelic visuals.

Since then, Alice's story has received international acclaim, spawning several animated and live-action adaptations, video game remakes, and countless stage shows, from Broadway theaters to New York to 'at the Children's Theater stage right here in Minnesota. Alice in Wonderland comes to the Childrens Theater this February, promising a wonderfully wacky show the whole family will enjoy. This is the second production in history by the Children's Theatre, which was first presented on the main stage in 2013.

Actor Dean Holt is no stranger to the Children's Theater stage, having starred in the original. Alice in Wonderland production as well as the next, where he plays both the Mad Hatter and Humpty Dumpty. Holt is also celebrating 30 years with the theater company this year by performing in the show. We spoke to Holt about returning to the world of Wonderland, his experience playing two characters on the show, and why the story has remained so popular after so many years.

This is your 30th year with the Childrens Theater Company, and you have appeared in over 120 productions with them in total. What keeps you coming back, year after year?

I left university and was going to do a year's professional apprenticeship in the theater and then continue my higher education. After the first season, it quickly became apparent to me that this was a place where you could put down roots in a really nourishing way. I think the level of imagination that goes into this theater with the children is what I find most satisfying.

Prior to the upcoming production in February, you were also featured in the 2013 production of Alice in Wonderland at the Children's Theater. What's it like to come back to it a second time, and how has the 2024 version been different for you?

The biggest change for me is just the fact that it's a whole new group of people. It's exciting, because what we did last time was wonderful, but it's [been] 10, 11 years since the last time we did it. It's fun to see new choices being made, because then the scene itself starts to crackle in a different way than it did when we did it before.

In the series, you play as both the Mad Hatter and Humpty Dumpty. What's it like to play not one, but two iconic Alice in Wonderland characters?

I like playing different characters in a series because it's a challenge, so I like to stretch those muscles as much as I can. The Mad Hatter is simply brilliant. We have stuff at their tea table, chairs that fly away, disappear, swing to the other side of the stage. There's a lot going on, and then my scene partner is a fantastic actor, so I really enjoy that level of improvisation that happens with him in every performance.

why do you think Alice in Wonderland has held up and remained as popular after all these years?

I think as an audience we like to be taken somewhere. We love to travel and escape the everyday world, and I think Alice in Wonderland does this in such a huge way, because it's a world where anything can happen. The whole world doesn't make sense, it's upside down. So the fun, I think, is just in the level of imagination and play that we can do. I hope this is the pleasure that the audience will take away.

Which movie do you prefer: Alice in Wonderland (1951) Or Alice in Wonderland (2010)?

I would have to become animated. I love this classic Disney world, it's the iconic thing we all think of.




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