Marquis theatre - May 10, 2011

Ver-r-r-y loosely based on Alice in Wonderland, actually this place just uses the characters in fanciful ways that Lewis Carroll never imagined.  In fact this play has more in common with The Wizard of Oz, in that the caterpillar, Cheshire cat and white rabbit undertake to reunite Alice with her daughter, Chloe, and help her get out of Wonderland.  Charlie Smalls’s 1974 musical “The Wiz” adhered more closely to the Wizard of Oz than Wonderland does to the Alice tale, but both take liberties with the originals.

The sets, costumes and lighting are great, the performances solid, Jose LLana as El Gato being the standout. 

Unfortunately this show will close on Sunday after a very short run of about a month in preview and another month since opening night.  But if you do like Broadway musicals, then you really shouldn’t miss Wonderland.  It is great fun and I expect it will have a post-Broadway life.  They will need to do some work on it.  There is enough of a story line to string the songs together, but don’t go for that.  There is some good singing and good acting, but don’t go for that.  The set pieces, both stationary and mobile are very creative, and the aforementioned lighting is suitably psychedelic.  But don’t go just for that either.

The production numbers are as good as you could wish them to be, worth waiting for even when the story dragged a bit. Go for that. 

The Queen of Hearts looks suspiciously like Sarah Palin and there is a pun about the Mad Tea party.

The large cast of dancers, neatly choreographed by Marguerite Derricks, were great!   I can only imagine how hectic it was backstage with so many elaborate costumes and changes. 

The Queen of Hearts wears a black outfit with red bows on her shoes, then a bright red and yellow one with red shoes, then back again. I guess the bright outfit is just for beheading ceremonies.

But such details are unimportant.  What makes a good play, musical or otherwise, is if you leave the theatre smiling, having had a good time. You have until this Sunday to catch Wonderland before it leaves Broadway’s Marquis Theatre.  Good seats are available and it is a good time.