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Setting the Stage

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We’re pulling back the curtain to give you a sneak peek into the production process. Over the next few posts, you’ll hear from members of the cast and creative team as they prepare for the world premiere of Alice and the New Wonderful. Let’s set the stage. We had a chance to sit down with Brian Kessler (BK), Scenic Designer for Alice and the New Wonderful. Check out how he took the world of Alice from page to stage.

Q: What inspired the set design for “Alice & the New Wonderful” and how did you approach the task of bringing the story to life visually?

A: So this design was a very different approach for me versus my normal design process. For this show, we read thru the script as a production team and would stop every time we got to a change and discuss what our thoughts were and what we saw.

So having this unified vision from the start really made the process much easier as we were all on the same page. From that point, it became about how to create pieces that could be in this plain drab world but also be used if fun colorful ways for other scenes knowing space limitations at the DFT. which is how most set pieces are used in both worlds of the show.

Q: How did you collaborate with the production team to ensure that the set design complemented the overall vision for the show?

A: This process of me having Asana (which one day I will fully understand) help each other see our thoughts and visions really helped with the collaborations in the production team. From our first meeting, we walk through the show and I feel every scene is a compilation of everyone’s thoughts and ideas

Q: Can you talk about any specific challenges or obstacles that you faced during the set design process and how you overcame them?

A: One of the biggest challenges/obstacles to me was that we all know the story of Alice and Wonderland and how magical Wonderland was. Finding new ways to bring that magical feel into this production.

Q: What is the most striking or memorable aspect of the set design for “Alice & the New Wonderful” and why?

A: For me, it was really when I was doing the texture paint treatments on the set pieces in person. When doing the computer renderings I really got into the different ways layering spray colors looked. With a computer, it is very uniform and when doing spray treatments in person it is so random and easy to manipulate the colors.

Q: How did you incorporate the theme of reintegration into the real world into the set design, and what choices did you make to convey this visually?

A: From early on I wanted to find ways to make as many set pieces appear in both worlds. A lot of them do but each one has a different treatment but still bares resemblance to the other world. Like brick walls that have slanted bricks or Alice’s bed that is all a display in Maddie’s.

Q: Can you describe your creative process when designing a set for a theatrical production and how it differs from designing for other mediums?

A: Most of my design experience is in theatrical productions, however, from the little I have done a lot of the process is the same. First, you want to get to know the space and content of the project and then from there, it’s going into research looking for different imagery that speaks to your thoughts, such as fabrics, textures, colors, and patterns. then it becomes about bringing your visions to life.

Check out Alice & the New Wonderful at the Detroit Film Theater May 20-21, 2023.

Behind the Seams

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Get ready to step into a world of whimsy and wonder with Alice & the New Wonderful! Our production is full of stunning visuals, and the costumes are no exception. We sat down with our costume designer to get an inside look at the creative process behind bringing these characters to life. Join us for this exclusive interview and get a behind-the-scenes peek at the magic of Alice & the New Wonderful.

Calling the Shots

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It takes a village to put on a production as enchanting as Alice & the New Wonderful, and one of the unsung heroes of the show is our Stage Manager. In this exclusive interview, we sit down with the person who keeps everything running smoothly behind the scenes. Get ready to learn how they help bring the magic of Wonderland to life every night, and how their work is crucial to the success of the show.

The Art of Audio

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For many, sound design is often lumped together with music, but it is so much more. There is a team of designers and engineers to ensure audiences hear the show clearly and are transported into the world being created before their eyes. Sound design, like many other design elements, can make or break the experience. Sound Designer Lumumba Reynolds gives us an inside look into the role and its impact as we dive deeper behind the scenes.

Teching It to the Next Level

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to bring a stage production to life? In this exclusive interview, our Tech Theater Program Specialist, Nick Yocum, shares his insights on everything from coordinating lighting and sound to preparing youth apprentices for the big show. As the production manager of Alice & the New Wonderful, he’s intimately familiar with the challenges and rewards of working behind the scenes. So join us for this fascinating glimpse into the world of tech theater and see how our youth apprentices are stepping up to the plate!

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit Presents the World Premiere of Alice & the New Wonderful

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DIA performance caps 30th anniversary year
Production Dates: MAY 13 at 7PM | MAY 14 at 4PM | MAY 20 at 7PM | May 21 at 4PM

DETROIT – (April 12, 2023) – Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit to put on final show of the season in culmination with 30th Anniversary season. Join us for Alice & The New Wonderful, a thrilling new adaptation by Idris Goodwin, featuring music by Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit. Goodwin is a multiple award-winning playwright, breakbeat poet, content creator and arts champion.

“After such a successful season filled with joy and traditions, we are thrilled to invite audiences of all ages to the Detroit Institute of Arts Film Theatre. After consecutive sold out shows in February, we are humbled to return for our final production of the year featuring our youth ensemble and Class of 2023 seniors,” shares DeLashea Strawder, Executive & Artistic Director. “I also want to extend my gratitude to our partners that helped make this production possible – Thank you to Gucci Changemakers, the DIA, and The National Endowment of the Arts.”

The show tells the story of Alice, a 12-year-old Black girl, who struggles to reintegrate into the real world following their unforgettable adventures in Wonderland. As she grapples with feelings of alienation from her family and friends, she sets off to find a NEW wonderland in her city.

Alice & the New Wonderful runs for two weekends at the Detroit Institute of Arts Film Theatre.

Tickets for in-person audiences are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for youth 18 and under.

For show times and to purchase tickets, visit www.mosaicdetroit.org/events. For questions and additional information, please contact [email protected] or call 313.872.6910.

“With a stellar cast and jaw-dropping performances, this memorable production will be one for the books,” says Strawder.

The Mosaic Youth Theatre is Letting the Good Times Roll – Click on Detroit

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Meet the talented youth of a local Detroit ensemble! – We can all agree that spaces of creativity are great to allow children to learn and grow, and one local ensemble, Mosaic Youth Theatre, is doing just that.

DeLashea Strawder is the executive and artistic director for Mosaic Youth Theatre. Strawder said “Mosaic really uses the arts as a tool to earn mentoring relationships with young people.” She added that the program helps, “…to holistically support them providing them with opportunities to connect to professional artists and mentors.”

For youth interested in joining the ensemble, Strawder said that auditions are every summer and fall, and that the ensemble offers “programming year-round.”

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit to Receive Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

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Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is pleased to announce it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a Grants for Arts Projects award of $15,000. This grant will support our mission of empowering young people to maximize their potential through professional performing arts training. This grant is one of 1,251 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling nearly $28.8 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as this one with Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is one of Southeast Michigan’s most highly regarded cultural treasures. Our critically acclaimed student-driven performances and national and international tours have brought worldwide attention to Detroit as a center for arts and culture while shining a spotlight on the area’s talented young people and creating new and diverse audiences for the performing arts.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

Upcoming dates for “12 Plays of Christmas” at the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit – Fox 2

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Mosaic awarded $25K State Grant for Empowering Youth Performing Arts

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Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit has been awarded a grant of $25,000 from the State of Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC). The grant was awarded through the MACC peer review process and was one of 639 applications to compete for MACC fiscal year 2023 funding.

This grant helps Mosaic further its mission of empowering young people to maximize their potential through professional performing arts training. In the past year, the youth ensemble has entertained over 36,000 audience members, and every young artist at Mosaic has enrolled in a college or university after their high school graduation. This contribution from the state will allow us to continue transforming and inspiring the Detroit community with our creation of engaging theatrical and musical art.

As an organization receiving a MACC grant award, we are required to match those funds with other public and private dollars. This special honor would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, including the Lewis Prize for Music, Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, Jacob Family Foundation, Gucci Changemakers, and the McGregor Fund.

Mosaic also wishes to thank Governor Whitmer, the MACC, and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for investing in our vision to cultivate excellence on and off the stage for Detroit-area youth.

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is one of Southeast Michigan’s most highly regarded cultural treasures. Our critically acclaimed student-driven performances and national and international tours have brought worldwide attention to Detroit as a center for arts and culture while shining a spotlight on the area’s talented young people and creating new and diverse audiences for the performing arts.

Founded by Rick Sperling in 1992 to address gaps in Metro Detroit arts education, Mosaic served 25 young artists in its inaugural year. Today, hundreds of youth from more than 50 Metro Detroit schools participate in Mosaic’s First, Second and Main Stage programs every year. These innovative programs provide expert training, mentoring and opportunity to the area’s young actors, singers, and stage technicians, while fostering a culture of high expectations, active participation and acceptance that serves them beyond the stage.

The MACC peer review process allows for each grant application to be competitively considered by a panel of in-state and out-of-state arts and culture professionals. This ensures the taxpayers, who support this project through legislative appropriations, and all other visitors or residents in Michigan will have access to the highest quality arts and cultural experiences.

A complete list of grant awards around the state is available by contacting MCACA at (517) 241-4011, or by visiting the MACC website at www.michigan.gov/arts.