Boyd, Murphy and Wildhorn’s Wonderland Musical Opens; Dacal, Mason, Llana Go Down Rabbit Hole
by Kenneth Jones | Playbill.com
Wonderland, a new pop musical take on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” tale, opens in its world-premiere engagement in Tampa, FL, Dec. 5 after previews from Nov. 24. Gregory Boyd, Jack Murphy and Frank Wildhorn’s show stars In the Heights‘ Janet Dacal in the title role.
Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure — drawn from the 19th-century fantasy fiction for kids — is produced by the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center). Dacal, Karen Mason, Darren Ritchie, Jose Llana and more bring the new musical to life in Florida prior to a Houston, TX, run.
Gregory Boyd, artistic director of Houston’s Alley Theatre, directs. The music is by composer Frank Wildhorn (The Civil War and Jekyll & Hyde) with lyrics by Jack Murphy (The Civil War). The book is by Murphy and Boyd.
Wonderland is the first initiative of the Broadway Genesis Project at the Straz Center. Broadway Genesis is intended to help create new works of American theatre to play the Tampa market, and then possibly tour other performing arts centers or move to Broadway. The musical plays at the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall.
Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure will play through Jan. 3, 2010.
Wonderland‘s principal cast includes Julie Brooks (Fiddler on the Roof national tour) as Chloe, Janet Dacal (In the Heights, Good Vibrations) as Alice, Tommar Wilson as the Caterpillar, Jose Llana (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as El Gato, Karen Mason (Sunset Boulevard, Mamma Mia!) as the Queen of Hearts, Darren Ritchie (Dracula: The Musical) as Jack/White Knight, Nikki Snelson (Legally Blonde) as the Mad Hatter and Ed Staudenmayer (Forbidden Broadway) as the Rabbit.
The ensemble includes Tad Wilson, who will also take on the featured role of the Jabberwock, along with Grady Bowman, Sae La Chin, Carrie Cimma, Dan Domenech, Mallauri Esquibel, Lori Eure, Derek Ferguson, Wilkie Ferguson, Ashley Galvan, Laura Karklina, Autumn Hurlburt, Rachel Markarian, Mary Mossberg, Julius Anthony Rubio, Melinda Sullivan, Chelsea Traille and Danny Stiles.
Producer Judith Lisi is president and CEO of he Straz Center. Wonderland‘s creative team includes choreographer Marguerite Derricks (of the new “Fame” feature film), music supervisor and vocal and dance arranger Ron Melrose (Jersey Boys), who will also provide incidental music.
Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty, Drama Desk nominee Neil Patel and Tony nominee Paul Gallo will design the costumes, sets and lights, respectively, and Jon Weston will design the sound. Sven Ortel will design video and projections.
Tony nominee Wildhorn is the composer of The Civil War, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Dracula, Jekyll & Hyde and the upcoming Bonnie & Clyde and Havana, among other projects. Murphy shares a Best Score Tony nomination with Wildhorn for The Civil War. Boyd wrote the book to The Civil War and is artistic director of Houston’s Alley Theatre, where Wonderland will play an engagement beginning Jan. 15, 2009. For more information, visit www.alleytheatre.org.
According to production notes, “With a chaotic Wonderland in danger of disappearing into nothingness, only a modern-day Alice can restore balance and joy. Journey with her from NYC to a strange-yet-familiar place where she must reclaim her daughter and defeat the Queen of Hearts. In this world premiere of a new musical…you’ll crash through the Looking-Glass to an enchanting Wonderland filled with fantastic characters and astonishing visions. Wildhorn’s score taps into numerous pop styles, and Murphy’s lyrics provide both wit and wisdom as Alice learns to follow her heart.”