A musical and a dance recital coming up in the next week are offering two beloved family stories on stage, "Alice in Wonderland," and "Anne of Green Gables."   ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Vermont Center for Dance Education is presenting its annual student recital, “Alice in Wonderland,” this year. As soon as you open the door to the studio, classical piano floats down the stairs and through the halls, which are covered with framed photos of graceful poses and beautiful costumes from past productions. Upstairs, a young girl was fitting a puffy pink costume into a garment bag while a class was in progress in the next room, a row of girls in identical black leotards beside a mirrored wall. Owner and dance teacher Stefania Nardi said “Alice” features dozens of dancers from ages 4 to 20, and there are many costumes in all of her productions that she makes herself, special for each show. “The main characters and some of the other costumes I either can’t find or they would be costly, so I end up making them myself,” she said. “You have to get creative to have the effect that you want.” She also had help from locals and friends in building the scenery and props, including a 3-foot red mushroom, a giant teapot and the queen’s throne. The recital takes place at 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland, but it’s a little different than a typical recital. “A lot of people do mixes of different styles of dance, which we also do, but they do it separately in pieces and we do a cohesive story,” said Emily Dupont, 18, from Woodstock Union High School. She’s dancing the part of Alice, and has been with Nardi for  years, making the 40-minute drive like many other students, who live in neighboring towns. Lucy Ursitti, 18, from Middlebury has been dancing with ‘Stefi’ as the students call her, since she was 5 years old. She has the roles of the caterpillar and the Cheshire cat, both of which don Nardi’s handmade costumes. “Our biggest challenge is to make sure the story flows and the transitions make sense,” Nardi said. “We have a lot of talent at our school and anyone coming to see our show will be able to tell that our students have solid technique. They can really portray the character, which is something we work a lot on. And the dancers are dancing form their heart.”   ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Do you know the story of “Anne of Green Gables”? It isn’t quite as well known in the United States as it is in Canada, but Weston Playhouse director Tim Fort says it’s a perfect story for not just kids but the whole family. It follows Anne, a spunky orphan sent to live with a farmer and his sister on Prince Edward Island, who thought they were adopting a boy. Fort taught and lived in Canada for 45 years where he says “Anne” is a central story everybody knows. “I have known several versions in film and plays and musicals, and I’ve loved it, and my daughter grew up on it,” he said. “This is a truly family based story that has been loved by all ages for over 100 years.” Fort is directing a production of the musical featuring the eight young actors drawn from theater training programs across the country in the Weston Playhouse young company. It will be at Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm, 705 Main St. in Weston  June 13 through the end of the month, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 4 p.m. Saturday June 16 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $20, $10 for children (www.westonplayhouse.org). “She’s a great example of somebody who even as a young girl has a strong sense of herself,” Fort said of Anne, who talks the family into keeping her, and ends up making a big impact on the community. And the humanity of the characters and the story of a small town he says are perfect for Vermont. "A (stranger arrives) and the town has to figure out whether they can accept and understand somebody just a little bit different," Fort said. “And of course they do. It’s just a beautiful show. Don’t just bring your kids, let your kids bring you. I think everyone will enjoy it.”

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