Monday, April 25, 2011

REVIEW: Wonderland (New York)

Marquis Theatre (New York), Saturday April 23

The strength of this new musical, Wonderland, lies on the music of Frank Wildhorn and its set, costume, video and projection design. Unfortunately, I can't help but feel that the story was particularly weak and the performers were surprisingly inadequate and uncommitted.

This is yet another story spun off from the classic (like Wicked) that failed to conjure an amazing relevant journey for the grown up Alice. The story was neither fantastical enough for children nor intriguing enough for adults. It ended up looking like an Alice meet Dorothy with a bit of Isolde thrown in.

Very few of the cast members stood out positively. Worst of all is that the leading actors were the weaker ones. Janet Dacal's Alice was whiny and vocally underpowered. Kate Shindle's The Mad Hatter was uncommited and formulaic. The supporting actors, e.g. Jose Llana' El Gato, Karen Mason' The Queen of Hearts and Carly Rose Sonenclar's Chloe fared better.

What made the show worth sitting through was that the production was actually not bad. In particular, the set and the costume (the Queen's costume was to die for) was beautifully designed. With more and more shows using videos and projections, Wonderland brought the whole video projection craft to a different level, it truly enhanced the story and moved well within the set. As for Frank Wildhorn's music, they were a good blend of pop-jazz-showtune styles that helped the musical from crumbling into a huge mess.


Opened in Broadway on April 17 2011
Lyrics by: Jack Murphy
Music by: Frank Wildhorn
Book by: Jack Murphy and Gregory Boyd

Production Credits:
Gregory Boyd (Direction)
Marguerite Derricks (Choreography)
Neil Patel (Set Design)
Susan Hilferty (Costume Design)
Paul Gallo (Lighting Design)
Sven Ortel (Video and Projection Design)

Cast Includes:
Janet Dacal (Alice)
Darren Ritchie (Jack the White Knight)
E. Clayton Cornelious (Caterpillar)
Jose Llana (El Gato)
Karen Mason (The Queen of Hearts)
Kate Shindle (The Mad Hatter)
Carly Rose Sonenclar (Chloe)
Edward Staudenmayer (The White Rabbit)

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At April 26, 2011 at 1:04 AM , Anonymous Sheila said...

Thanks for the review. I left Houston right before the show was put on there but I didn't feel any pity. The name Gregory Boyd brought me back the memory of two wonderful plays I saw in Alley Theatre: Our Town and Gruesome Playground Injuries. And that was the beginning of my theater-going life and it seems an no-turning-back road :)

I wonder how come this "bit of Isolde"? I missed this opera during this HK Arts Festival. Could you explain a little? Thanks.

At April 27, 2011 at 12:12 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

Hi! Thank you for your message. The "bit of Isolde" was in reference of the more adult theme wherein Jack the White Knight "died for love" :-)


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