Category: Review

Wonderland – The Musical (Review)

Most of us have heard of the story “Alice in Wonderland” in our childhood. We have grown up with the characters Alice, Mad Hatter, Caterpillar, White Knight etc. Who could be more thrilled when a new musical came up based on this very story?

While the makers have been fairly faithful to Lewis Carroll’s original tale, it of course comes with a twist. The new age Alice is someone who texts, tweets, uses Google and is a complete digital era. However, she still finds herself in the Wonderland of old. In this way, this musical becomes endearing to both- the older generation who have grown up reading about Alice in Wonderland as well as to the younger generation , who will be able to relate to and appreciate the multiple references to social networking, texting etc.

It was composed by Frank Wildhorn, directed by Gregory Boyd with Jack Murphy as the lyricist. It boasted of an impressive cast consisting of Janet Dacal, Darren Ritchie, E. Clayton Cornelious, Jose Llana, Karen Mason, Kate Shindle, and Carly Rose Sonenclar among others. The Broadway premiere was held at the Marquis theatre in New York, on April 17, 2011. However, the musical received negative reviews and hence had to close down on May 15, 2011 after 33 performances. However, an original cast recording of the show was released on May 3, 2011.

Wonderland – The Musical traces the journey of Alice – who finds herself in an extremely difficult set of circumstances. She is separated from her spouse and also from her daughter. In addition, she has the fear to lose her hard earned career. A dejected and depressed Alice finds herself in a Wonderland and here she encounters a set of peculiar characters like the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, Chloe, the Queen of Hearts and others in her journey to find her daughter. These characters are strange yet familiar to her as they are dressed in the same dresses that they are known to be wearing in the original “Alice in Wonderland” and somehow she seeks solace from them and rediscovers herself and the wonders in her life.

Alice finally awakens from her dream to find her estranged husband at her doorstep who wants to reconcile and finds that the family is together again thus leading to a “happily ever after” ending to the Musical.

The main characters are as below:-

Alice – The main protagonist

The White Knight – A brave sentimental guy who wants to be Alice’s hero in the story.

Caterpillar – Always speaks in riddles

Mad Hatter – One of the main antagonists in the Musical, someone who would resort to any means to get her own way out.

Queen of Hearts – She seems to be the main villain but in reality is just a pawn.

White Rabbit – A timid guy who resorts to being brave when it comes to rescuing his friends

All in all, Wonderland- the Musical is a sharply narrated and well-paced tale. It is crisp, has humor and an artistic modern style to it which makes it appeal well to both adults as well as children despite all the criticism it received.

Is Alice in Wonderland as Special as It’s Said to Be?

Alice is one of those successful stories that almost everyone has heard about. The play has inspired filmmakers and actually led to the making of over 25 different TV and film versions. The first one was an iconic movie made in 1903. But has the play had any special effect on cinema as compared to its contemporaries? Most critics say no.

Alice was first published in 1865 but has been adapted 25 times to date. In comparison, Les Miserables (first published in 1862) has also attracted 25 adaptations, while Crime & Punishment (1866) has attracted over 27 adaptations. Little Women (1868) has had 13 adaptations, while Great Expectations (1861) has recorded at least 15 thus far.

Disney’s adaptation, “Alice in Wonderland”, was released in 1951. The initial release wasn’t so successful, and the film didn’t hit the sweet spot for audiences and critics till decades later. The movie also boasts many other feats. For instance, it was the first cartoon feature that aired on TV and later released as a home video.

Alice does not stand apart from all these contemporaries. It has little in common with them. For instance, there lacks a unifying theme among the novels and other plot structures. Critics have given it credit for attracting a lot of interest from filmmakers. But it’s not alone in this regard. So that’s not really unique.

The simple but brilliant premise of a child finding a portal to another world is probably imagination. If not, others have said it’s so compelling. One of the individuals who has hailed Alice is C.S. Lewis, whose machination, “The Chronicles of Narnia” starts when a kid discovers a fairy tale world from a furs-stuffed wardrobe. Certainly, the premise is utterly compelling. But the same goes for lots of other stories, including some that were published around the same time with Alice.