Wildhorn and Murphy's Wonderland Makes Houston Bow Jan. 15

By Adam Hetrick
and Kenneth Jones
January 15, 2010

Wonderland, the new contemporary pop musical incarnation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland," begins performances Jan. 15 at Houston's Alley Theatre.



Following a world premiere engagement at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, FL, last November, Wonderland will officially open at the Alley Jan. 20 and continue through Feb. 14.

Alley Theatre artistic director Gregory Boyd directs the musical that has a score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel, The Civil War) and lyrics by Jack Murphy (The Civil War). Murphy and Boyd co-wrote the book.

The Alley has a long history with Wildhorn musicals. His productions of Jekyll & Hyde, The Civil War and Svengali all premiered there. The composer also serves as an associate artist of the Alley.

Wonderland features 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 also takes on the featured role of the Jabberwock, along with Grady McLeod Bowman, Sae La Chin, Carrie Cimma, Colleen Craig, Dan Domenech, Krystal Ellsworth, Mallauri Esquibel, Lori Eure, Derek Ferguson, Ashley Galvan, Laura Karklina, Mary Mossberg, Stefan Raulston, Julius Anthony Rubio, Melinda Sullivan and Danny Stiles.

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."

Wonderland's creative team includes choreographer Marguerite Derricks, music supervisor and vocal and dance arranger Ron Melrose (Jersey Boys), who also provides incidental music. The production has costumes by Susan Hilferty, set design by Neil Patel, lighting design by Paul Gallo and sound design by Jon Weston. 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.

Judith Lisi, president and CEO of Tampa's Straz Center is the producer. A concept recording of the musical is available at the Alley Theatre.

Tickets are available by visiting AlleyTheatre. The Alley Theatre is located at 615 Texas Avenue in Houston, TX.