Curiouser and curiouser! That’s how two third-grade girls felt as they entered the wacked-out world of “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” and took to the stage in the Nov. 16-18 production at Fabrefaction Theatre in Midtown.
Franki Kimche-Gilstrap, 9, and Rachel Doman, 8, are Sunday School friends at the Temple who were at first quite surprised to find themselves auditioning together for Fabrefaction’s summer camps and educational series productions. The girls discovered that they share a passion for acting, singing and dancing, and since have been cast together in four Fabrefaction shows over the past 18 months.
The pair have even carpooled together on Sunday afternoons as they segued from Judaic and Hebrew lessons at the Temple to learning new songs at “Alice” rehearsals!
The production featured 19 kids, ranging in age from 6 to 12, from schools all over the Atlanta area. Franki and Rachel auditioned for the musical in August, rehearsed twice weekly from September through November and performed in four shows over the three-day run that culminated with a cast party that celebrated each child’s work and performance.
Franki loved playing Tweedledee, a funny and odd character that she specifically asked for at her audition, and Rachel donned a kaleidoscopic top hat and tails as the Mad Hatter, and had great fun playing a demented, mischievous prankster. Both girls adored the outrageous costuming and high-spirited elements of the show.
When they’re not busy strutting their stuff on stage, the girls lead very active lives. Franki, the daughter of Daryl Kimche and Kelly Gilstrap, attends the Lovett School and enjoys playing soccer and basketball as well as singing and playing the piano and the guitar.
And although she doesn’t begin mid-week Hebrew School until next year, Franki has already been absorbing the melodies that her 13-year-old sister Gabi had mastered for her bat mitzvah at the Temple in November.
Rachel, the daughter of Laura and Alex Doman, is a born actress who in her spare time attends Trinity School and loves creating art, writing stories, competing on her school’s chess and math teams and teasing her 15-year-old brother Josh.
She has also enjoyed playing lead parts in plays produced at Trinity School by The Actors Scene training company, but cites her role as Cruella de Vil in Fabrefaction’s “Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Kids” as her favorite yet.
“Rachel has found a second home at Fabrefaction,” Laura said. “The directors and staff are wonderful with the kids, [and they] respond so enthusiastically on stage to their love and care.
“The poise, confidence, stage presence and public speaking skills that they are developing now will be a benefit to them throughout their lives.”
“I have been so impressed with Fabrefaction’s seasoned professional artists, their management, the shows they choose to produce,” she said. “The casting, costumes and productions are just outstanding! They are true professionals and operate the theater that way, as well.
“They have as high an expectation of the children actors as they do of the adult actors, and I think that is great for Franki.”
For more information about Fabrefaction and their educational programming, please visit the theater’s website at fabrefaction.org.