Alley Theatre presents the world premiere of the new musical Wonderland about Alice, a children's book writer in Manhattan who is suffering through a creative block, estranged from her husband and alienated from her daughter. It takes a trip to a strange-yet-familiar Wonderland for her to regain her life's balance and again find the love and everyday magic that reside in us all - if we know how to look.
With a book by Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy (The Civil War), lyrics by Jack Murphy, music by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel, The Civil War), and directed by Gregory Boyd, Wonderland begins previews Friday, January 15, opens officially Wednesday, January 20 and runs through Sunday, February 14.
The principal cast of Wonderland includes Julie Brooks (Fiddler on the Roof national tour) as Chloe, Janet Dacal (In the Heights, Good Vibrations) as Alice, 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, Ed Staudenmayer (Forbidden Broadway) as the Rabbit and Tommar Wilson (Hair) as The caterpillar.
The design team for Wonderland includes choreography by Marguerite Derricks, music direction and vocal arrangements by Ron Melrose, costume design by Susan Hilferty, set design by Neil Patel, lighting design by Paul Gallo, sound design by Jon Weston and video and projection design by Sven Ortel. Judith Lisi, president and CEO of the Straz Center is the producer.
The concept recording of Wonderland is available for purchase at the Alley Theatre gift shop and online at www.alleytheatre.org when a ticket is purchased.
Produced in Association with the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center), Wonderland will be transferring to the Alley Theatre the first week of January for rehearsals before going into technical rehearsals and previews. This will be the second play of the Alley's New Play Initiative.
Wonderland is generously sponsored by Premiere Sponsor The Humphreys Foundation. Additional support is provided by Lead Sponsor Enbridge Energy Company, Inc. and Supporting Sponsors Cameron, KPMG LLP and Porter & Hedges LLP. The Alley Theatre is supported by the 2009-2010 season sponsor Continental Airlines, the official airline of the Alley Theatre.
ABOUT THE CAST
Julie Brooks (Chloe) is thrilled to be part of this production. Brooks was most recently seen in the current tour of Fiddler on the Roof starring Topol, as Bielke/ Grandma Tzeitel. She is a recent graduate of the Maggie Flanigan Studio.
Janet Dacal (Alice Cornwinkle) Credits include on Broadway: In the Heights (four 2008 Tony Awards®), Good Vibrations. Off-Broadway: In the Heights (Drama Desk Award), Byzantium. Regional: Señor Discretion, Himself (Arena Stage); 5 Course Love (Carbonell Nomination); Four Guys Named Jose; Annie and others (Actors' Playhouse). Recordings and tours for various Grammy®-winning artists including Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada and Luis Enrique.
Jose Llana (Hector/El Gato) Broadway: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee original Chip Tolentino (Drama Desk Award), Wang Ta in Flower Drum Song, Angel in RENT, Jessie-Lee in Streetcorner Symphony and Lun Tha in the 1996 Revival of The King and I. Off-Broadway: Gabey in On the Town and Adam Guettel's Saturn Returns, both at The Public Theater. Regional: Martin Guerre (Guillaume, Guthrie Theater), Ballad of Little Jo (Steppenwolf Theater, Jefferson Nomination), Candide (Prince Theater, Barrymore Nomination). Workshops: Melchior in Spring Awakening (Sundance Lab) and Tales of the City (O'Neill), among others. TV/film: Sex and the City and Hitch. Cast albums and solo album, VIVA Philippines label. www.josellana.com
Karen Mason (Mrs. Everheart/The Queen of Hearts) Broadway: Hairspray, Mamma Mia (2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress), Sunset Boulevard, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Torch Song Trilogy. Off-Broadway: And The World Goes 'Round, Carnival. (Drama Desk nomination for Best Supporting Actress). Concert/cabaret: Carnegie Hall, Rainbow & Stars, Lincoln Center, Feinstein's, The Kennedy Center. Mason is a nine-time Mac Award winner. She has six solo CDs including her most recent Right Here/Right Now (2009 Mac Award for Best CD). www.karenmason.com.
Darren Ritchie (Jack, The White Knight) Credits include Broadway: Wildhorn's Dracula, Little Shop of Horrors, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Bells Are Ringing and Les Miserables; National Tours: Fame; Regionally he has worked at the Music Theatre in Wichita, Goodspeed Playhouse, North Shore and Pittsburgh Music Theatre; TV: Law & Order, SVU, Half Hour News Hour, Days of our Lives, Guiding Light. Numerous commercials and workshops around the world.
Nikki Snelson (Madeline/The Mad Hatter) Credits include Broadway: Legally Blonde (original Brooke Wyndham), Annie Get Your Gun with Bernadette Peters (Winnie Tate), Sweet Charity; Off-Broadway: How to Save the World (Violet), Have a Nice Life (Best NYMF Ensemble); National tours: A Chorus Line (Cassie), tick, tick ... BOOM! (Susan), Show Boat, Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing, Beauty and the Beast; Film/TV: Desperate Housewives, All My Children, Reefer Madness, Julie Taymor's Across the Universe. www.nicolesnelson.com
Edward Staudenmayer (Richard/ The Rabbit) recently starred in Spamalot, Las Vegas and on Broadway in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. Staudenmayer has a 15-year association with the Tony Award-winning, Forbidden Broadway. Other: Beauty and the Beast, Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Noises Off, The Producer's, Little Shop of Horrors and voices for MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch. He's a Barrymore and National Theatre Award nominee, and Soloist with the Baltimore, Syracuse, Bartlesville and Adelaide Symphonies. AEA, SAG, AFTRA, AGVA member
Tad Wilson (Jabberwock, Ensemble) Broadway: Rock of Ages. Off-Broadway: Rock of Ages. Regional credits include: Les Miserables, The Full Monty, For the Glory and The Civil War for Ford's Concert for the president. www.tadwilson.com
Tommar Wilson (Theo/The caterpillar) Broadway: Hair, Hairspray, Lestat, Never Gonna Dance, The Music Man, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and national tours of Mamma Mia and Ragtime. He's also been honored to perform with The Public, The Alliance Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, Trinity Rep., Playwright's Horizons, Papermill Playhouse, The MUNY, and the Vineyard Theater among others. BFA Carnegie Mellon University. www.tommarwilson.com.
The ensemble includes Tad Wilson, who will also take 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.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
Gregory Boyd (Director/Book) became the artistic director of the Alley Theatre in 1989. During his tenure, the Alley has risen in national and international prominence, winning the Special Tony® Award and experiencing record growth in its Houston audiences, while also transferring its productions to major European festivals (including two in one season at the Venice Biennale), Broadway and on tour to 40 American cities. Boyd's addition of artistic associates such as Edward Albee, Robert Wilson, Frank Wildhorn and Vanessa and Corin Redgrave, has enhanced the Alley's visibility and reputation worldwide; while his commitment to maintaining a resident company of actors has made the Alley unique among American theater companies. At the Alley, Mr. Boyd has produced more than 100 new productions of the widest ranging repertoire in the country. His Alley premieres have been nominated for eight Tony Awards-among them the premieres of Not About Nightingales by Tennessee Williams (Alley, London, Broadway), Jekyll & Hyde, (Alley, national tour, Broadway), The Civil War (which he also co-authored). In addition, Boyd directed the recordings of The Civil War and Jekyll & Hyde for Atlantic Records. At the Alley, he has appeared as an actor in Danton's Death (Tom Paine) and Cyrano de Bergerac (Cyrano) and directed more than 40 productions including: Treasure Island, Subject to Fits, Hitchcock Blonde, Hapgood, Jekyll & Hyde, In the Jungle of Cities, After the Fall, The Greeks, Macbeth, As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream. His recent directing project outside the Alley have included Our Town at Hartford Stage (HAl Holbrook), Coward's Design for Living at Williamstown (Marisa Tomei, Campbell Scott, Steven Weber), Tom Stoppard's Travesties at Long Wharf (Sam Waterston, Tom Hewitt) and the premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan's Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Boyd has served as Panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Massachusetts Council for the Arts. He has taught on the faculties of Carnegie-Mellon, Williams College, the University of Houston and the University of North Carolina, where he headed the Professional Theatre Training Program. He was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is a Distinguished Alumnus, and at Carnegie-Mellon.
Jack Murphy (Book/Lyrics) has worked on a wide variety of projects as both lyricist and composer. Collaborating with Frank Wildhorn, he wrote lyrics for Linda Eder's EMI CD And So Much More, as well as songs on her Atlantic CDs It's Time, It's No Secret Anymore, Christmas Stays the Same and Gold. In collaboration with Mary Bracken Phillips, he composed the score for the musical Silver Dollar, which debuted at the Goodspeed Opera House, with a second production at the Stage One Theater in Wichita, Kan., directed by Scott Schwartz. In collaboration with Wildhorn and Gregory Boyd of the Alley Theatre in Houston, he wrote the lyrics for The Civil War, which garnered him a Tony® nomination for Best Score when it debuted on Broadway at the ST. James Theater. He was back on Broadway again at the ST. James Theater with two songs penned for the hit show Swing. Once again in collaboration with Wildhorn, Murphy has written the book and lyrics of a musical about a 1920s American author and his wife, suggested by the lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, titled Zelda, directed by Vincent Marini at the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center in Marlton, N.J. Wildhorn and Murphy had a world premiere in Budapest, Hungary, in May of 2006, of a musical about the tragic "Mayerling Affair" titled Rudolf: The Last Kiss. Another production of the show opened at the Imperial Theater in Tokyo in May of 2008. The show also just experienced yet another successful premiere in Vienna, Austria, on Feb. 26, 2009. Another show, The Count of Monte Cristo, had its world premiere in St. Gallen, Switzerland, on March 14, 2009.
Frank Wildhorn (Music) In 1999, Frank Wildhorn became the first American composer in 22 years to have three shows running simultaneously on Broadway: Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and The Civil War, which altogether garnered eight Tony nominations. Also on Broadway, Dracula and Victor/Victoria. He has enjoyed international success with The Count of Monte Cristo in St. Gallen, Switzerland, Rudolf: The Last Kiss in Budapest, Tokyo, and Vienna, Carmen in Prague (Karlin Theatre's biggest hit), Never Say Goodbye and The Scarlet Pimpernel for the famed Takarazuka Revue in Japan, and Cyrano in Tokyo. Artists who have recorded and/or performed Wildhorn's music include Whitney Houston (with the international #1 hit "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?"), Natalie Cole, Kenny Rogers, Sammy Davis, Jr., Liza Minnelli, Julie Andrews, Trisha Yearwood, Clay Aiken, BeBe Winans, Larry Gatlin, Jennifer Holliday, FrEddie Jackson, Deana Carter, Tracy Lawrence, John Berry, Trace Adkins, Patti LaBelle, BRyan White, Amy Grant, Ben Vereen, Regina Belle, The Moody Blues, Jeffrey Osborne, Stacy Lattisaw, Dennis DeYoung, Molly Hatchet, Brenda Russell, John Raitt, Anthony Warlow, Stanley Turrentine, Johnny Mathis, Colm Wilkinson, and Linda Eder. For Linda, recordings, television shows, and concerts. Wildhorn wrote all the music and served as Music Director for the Opening Ceremonies of the Goodwill Games in 1998. He was a producer and co-creator of Harlem Song, the first open-ended theatrical run at the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem. He also produced and was Creative Director for the television program Broadway's Best on the Bravo television network. Wildhorn wrote the song "Gold", which was used in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics. He is honored to be an Associate Artist at the Alley Theatre in Houston, where he launched Jekyll & Hyde, Svengali, and The Civil War. Upcoming: Bonnie & Clyde (La Jolla Playhouse), Havana (Pasadena Playhouse), Tears From Heaven in Seoul, Frank Wildhorn & Friends in concert, Zelda, Camille Claudel and Jekyll & Hyde all over the world.
Marguerite Derricks (Choreographer) Her remarkable choreography has enhanced hundreds of films, television, commercials, music videos and stage productions. Derricks received the prestigious Emmy® Award for three consecutive years. Her first was for the long-running television series 3rd Rock from the Sun. She won her second Emmy® Award for Fame LA, and a third for the 1998 Goodwill Games Opening and Closing ceremonies. In addition, she was honored with the NAACP Award for Best Choreography for Sister Act, the Musical. Her films include the FAME remake, Little Miss Sunshine, Spiderman 3, Donnie Darko, Charlie's Angels, the Austin Powers trilogy and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, earning her MTV Movie Awards and American Choreography Award nominations. Her television credits include the Academy® Awards with Hugh Jackman, the 58th Emmy® Awards, numerous MTV Awards, Fashion Rocks telecast, That 70's Show and CSI Miami. Also in demand for commercials, Derricks has choreographed memorable ad campaigns including Old Navy, GAP, Pepsi and Jack in the Box. Derricks' choreography can also be seen in Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity, now in it's eighth sold-out year at the New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas.
Ron Melrose (Music Direction and Vocal Arrangements) Music direction: Jersey Boys (Broadway and six additional companies), Imaginary Friends, Scarlet Pimpernel (Broadway), Radio City Sinatra, First Wives Club, The Wiz, Caraboo and Zelda (Broadway-bound). Broadway dance/vocal arranging: Sweet Smell of Success, Jekyll & Hyde, Perfectly Frank, The Act, Marilyn: An American Fable, Woman of the Year and Cabaret. Associate producer, Jersey Boys original cast album (certified platinum). Composing: Superdimensional Microbabes (upcoming anime-based musical); Fourtune (off-Broadway); The Silver Swan (National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship); theatrical CDs (The Missing Peace, Early One Morning, Songs I Won't Be Singing); Harvard Hasty Pudding shows (Tots in Tinseltown, Bewitched Bayou); a gospel-based Requiem; songs for church, choir, cabaret and Saturday Night Live. Degrees from Harvard (philosophy) and Westminster (choral conducting).
Neil Patel (Set Design) is a New York-based scenic designer who works in theater, opera, dance and film. He has designed Sideman, [title of show], 'Night Mother and Ring of Fire for Broadway. Off-Broadway credits include productions at prominent theaters such as Second Stage, Manhattan Theater Club, Roundabout Theatre Company, BAM, New York Theater Workshop, Vineyard Theater and Playwrights Horizon, having designed productions of [title of show], Living Out, Here Lies Jenny, Dinner With Friends, The Long Christmas Ride Home, Quills and The Grey Zone. His regional work has been seen at the Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, McCarter Theater, Arena Stage, Center Stage, Steppenwolf and Chicago Shakespeare Theater among many others. His work with Anne Bogart and the Siti Company has been seen throughout the world, including the Holland Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Exit Festival in Paris and BAM. Opera credits New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Tokyo Nikikai Opera Theater and the Minnesota Opera. In Tokyo, his credits include Candide, Bent, Torch Song Trilogy and Take Flight at Parco Theater. London credits include Sideman (West End), A Question of Mercy (Bush Theater) and Henry IV (RSC). Awards include the Helen Hayes Award, the 2000 EDDY Award, numerous Drama Desk nominations and the 1996 and 2001 Obie Awards for sustained excellence in set design.
Susan Hilferty (Costume Design) has designed more than 300 productions from Broadway to across America and internationally including Japan, London, Australia, Germany and South Africa. Recent designs include Wicked (2004 Tony®, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk awards and Olivier nomination), Spring Awakening (Tony nomination) August Wilson's Radio Golf and Jitney, Lestat (Tony nomination) Assassins, Into the Woods (Tony and Drama Desk nominations; Hewes Award), Manon at LA opera and Berlin Staatsoper, Richard Nelson's Conversations in Tusculum, Caryl Churchill's Drunk Enough to Say I Love You and Christopher Durang's The Marriage of Bette and Boo. She works with such well-known directors as Joe Mantello, James Lapine, Michael Mayer, Walter Bobbie, Robert Falls, Tony Kushner, RoBert Woodruff, JoAnne Akalaitis, the late Garland Wright, James MacDonald, Bart Sher, Mark Lamos, Frank Galati, Des McAnuff, Christopher Ashley, Emily Mann, David Jones, Marion McClinton, Rebecca Taichman, Laurie Anderson, Carole Rothman, Garry Hynes, Richard Nelson and Athol Fugard (the South African writer with whom she works as set and costume designer and often as co-director since 1980). Hilferty also designs for opera, film and dance, and chairs the Department of Design for Stage and Film at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She was awarded a 2000 OBIE for Sustained Excellence in Design.
Paul Gallo (Lighting Design) Last fall Gallo designed his 50th Broadway show with the revival of Pal Joey at Studio 54. In his 29 years on Broadway, his designs for musicals include Pal Joey, Never Gonna Dance, Man of LaMancha, Dreamgirls, 42nd Street, The Rocky Horror Show, The Civil War, On The Town, The Sound Of Music, Triumph Of Love, Titanic, Big, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Smokey Joe's Café, Guys And Dolls, Crazy For You, City of Angels, Anything Goes, Smile, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood and Tintypes. He has also designed many award-winning plays on Broadway which include November, A Bronx Tale, Mauritius, Losing Louie, Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Three Days of Rain, The Crucible, 45 Seconds From Broadway, The Man Who Came To Dinner, Epic Proportions, Skylight, The Tempest, I Hate Hamlet, Six Degrees of Separation, Lend Me A Tenor, Spoils of War, The Comedy Of Errors, The Front Page, The House of Blue Leaves, Heartbreak House, Beyond Therapy, Come Back To The Five And Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Grown Ups, Kingdoms, Candida, The Little Foxes, John Gabriel Borkman and Passione. Gallo is the recipient of eight Tony nominations, 10 Drama Desk nominations (winning one), six Outer Critics Awards, two Obie Awards and the 1986 Obie for Sustained Excellence of Lighting Design. He is a graduate of Ithaca College and the Yale School of Drama.
Jon Weston (Sound Design) Broadway credits include 13, Les Miserables, The Color Purple, The Glass Menagerie, Caroline, or Change (AUDELCO Award), Nine, Imaginary Friends, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Green Bird, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, On the Town, Company in concert at Lincoln Center and Man of La Mancha. His off-Broadway and regional credits include Rooms, Family Guy Sings! at Carnegie Hall, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Little Night Music (L.A. Drama Critics Award), Himself & Nora, The Thing About Men, tick, tick...BOOM! and Bright Lights, Big City. He began his audio career at T.T.G.studios in Los Angeles, recording the music for such television shows as The Love Boat and Dynasty.
Sven Ortel's (Video & Projection Design) work has been seen all over the world. His collaborators are some of the most established and celebrated artists in the industry including directors Matthias Hartman, Jonathan Kent, Robert Lepage, Trevor Nunn, Deborah Warner and David Leveaux, choreographer Helgi Tomasson, conductor Valery Gergiev and set designer George Tsypin. His recent projects include Deuce directed by Michael Blakemore on Broadway, Complicite's A Disappearing Number directed by Simon McBurney, Disney's The Little Mermaid on Broadway, directed by Francesca Zambello, Swan Lake for the San Francisco Ballet and the Theatre for a New Audience's off-Broadway production of Hamlet. His current and future projects include the re-staging of the Kirov Opera's Ring Cycle under maestro Gergiev in St. Petersburg, Russia, and at the Royal Opera House in London. He is also working on a project in cooperation with the Guggenheim about "The Blue Rider" art movement. Since 2001, Ortel has been an associate of Mesmer, a collective of like-minded people that explore and further the use of imagery and projection in the live arts. With Mesmer, he conceived the video system and process that realized the technologically groundbreaking musical The Woman in White. Ortel is based in New York and London.
Judith Lisi (Executive Producer/ David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts President) is the President of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, which she joined on Oct. 1, 1992. With a background in theater that includes performing as both a singer and an actress, Lisi has also directed more than 40 productions and written six plays, including Stage Door Canteen, Speakeasy, Busby and WAISTWATCHERS, The Calorie-Free Musical. Before joining David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, she served as Executive Director of the prestigious Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, Conn. Prior to her work at the Shubert, Lisi served from 1979-1984 as Artistic Director of the Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Connecticut. As the Executive Producer of all David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts productions, she has produced many highly successful shows, including Florida's longest-running musical, Forever Plaid, which has toured the state. Other successes include the grand opera that Lisi brought to David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, from the first production, Madame Butterfly in 1996 to the world premiere of Anton Coppola's highly dramatic Sacco & Vanzetti in 2001 to the most recent production of Faust in 2009. She holds a master's degree in Theatre from St. Louis University and has done doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota. She also studied opera at the Juilliard School of Music. Lisi has been the recipient of many national and international awards, including the Broadway League Award for Best Presenter and the International Society for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award.
The creative team of Wonderland also includes Additional Dialogue by Phoebe Hwang, Hair and Wig Design by Tom Watson, Associate Director Kenneth Ferrone, Associate Choreographer Michelle Elkin, Conductor Greg Anthony, Orchestrations Kim Scharnberg, Associate Set Design by Caleb Levengood, Associate Costume Design by Tricia Barsamian, Associate Lighting Designer Craig Stelzenmuller, Associate Video and Projection Design by S. Katy Tucker, Stage Manager Kenneth J. David, Assistant Stage Manager Terry Cranshaw, Casting by Dave Clemmons Casting, Technical Supervisor Christopher Smith, Special Effects by Chic Silber and Managing Producer Judy Joseph.