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Midvale Journal

Junior production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ sells out and brings life to Midvale theater

Jan 05, 2023 02:14PM ● By Heather Lawrence

Maddie Steadman, front in green shirt, loved being in the Copperview Rec Center’s performance of ‘Alice in Wonderland” and can’t wait to perform again. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

The theater on Midvale’s Main Street came alive Dec. 1 and 2 with a musical production of “Tim Nelson’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” The show was part of Copperview Recreation Center’s inclusive theater program and included a cast of 35 kids. The show sold out both nights even after extra seats were added. 

“I am so proud of everyone. What an amazing show with amazing kids. I very much hope to see each of you at the next show we do,” wrote director Alex Kalaher to the cast and parents after the show. Kalaher co-directs the theater program at Copperview with Micah Taylor. 

Kalaher’s philosophy is there’s space for everyone in theater. Everyone who auditioned in early September walked away with a part. 

“The theatre industry can feel exclusive, which is why I ensure every child a role in my shows. My goal is to cultivate an environment in which kids feel safe to try new things, get excited about the art and feel confident.

“I do my best to make sure every child has a solo or duet singing line and their character is important and necessary to the show. Each of these 35 kids is unique, kind and fun. This safe space is inclusive of all gender identities, races and economic backgrounds,” Kalaher said. 

Cast member Jaxon Anderson of Midvale is a 14 year old who doesn’t usually seek out the spotlight. His mom, Megan Daybell, was happy he was involved in something that used his talents. She also knew Taylor, a music teacher at Jaxon’s school, would help Jaxon have the courage to perform.   

“From the initial audition, it was clear ‘just have fun’ was the guiding philosophy of this production. Allowing kids to be simultaneously silly and brave was the recipe for them to create something truly magical,” Daybell said. 

Jaxon had a great experience and sang some solo lines. “It was really fun to perform the play for everyone. I loved singing the songs and just being part of the play,” he said. 

Kalaher chose this version of “Alice” because it’s “geared for kids and gives everyone a chance to shine.” Comments like Jaxon’s validated her belief in the importance of theater, even for people who never go professional or pursue it seriously.  

“There are so many benefits to kids who are involved in theatre. It builds obvious skills like public speaking and teamwork. 

“But it also gives kids (and adults) a space to play. It gives them the confidence to exist as themselves and permission to enjoy something that might seem frivolous to others. They learn to be creative, make mistakes and ‘find their people,’” Kalaher said. 

That was the experience for third-grader Maddie Steadman of Midvale. Maddie auditioned with a song she wrote. She was cast with Rory Healy as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Her mom Emily Steadman said Maddie made lots of new friends and had post-show blues as soon as it was over. 

“Doing this play was the happiest I’ve ever been. I found my people, and I wish I could do it all over again!” Maddie said.  

Kalaher has high praise for assistant directors Micah Taylor and Robyn Kibbie, who made the technical and visual elements happen on a tight budget. 

 “They are kind, hardworking, patient and amazing with kids. They both have theatre expertise—Micah is a teacher with a strong music background. He’s also crazy good at the technical aspects of theatre, like lights, sound and set construction. 

“Robyn is a skilled costume designer and seamstress who is also a teacher. She heads up our costume projects and makes sure all the kids have what they need. She creates beautiful pictures with her creations. This is really the dream team,” Kalaher said. 

A successful theater program presents a good problem—where to perform? Kalaher said they’ve outgrown the stage space at the rec center where they rehearse.   

The show was eventually moved to The Pearl on Main theater, 7711 S. Main St. Formerly the Midvale Main Street Theatre, it was a last-minute venue. With 120 seats, Kalaher’s only concern was tickets sold out too fast.   

“We had planned on using a school theater, but due to the holiday season and some miscommunication it didn’t work out. Thankfully, The Pearl on Main came to our rescue. It’s a wonderful space for our program,” Kalaher said. “I’m hoping to add shows next time so everyone who wants to can come.” 

For information on future Copperview theater programs and productions, go to their website at, call the rec center at 385-468-1515 or email program coordinator Skyler Killian at [email protected].