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Alice the Musical

Clive Francis, Charles Miller

Full Length Musical, Comedy

Book and Lyrics by Clive Francis / Music by Charles Miller

Based on Lewis Carroll's much-loved story, Alice The Musical takes the audience on an extraordinary musical journey through Wonderland.
Alice the Musical
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OVERVIEW

  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic
Description

Alice The Musical is based on Lewis Carroll’s story about a young girl who falls into a deep sleep whilst being read a book by her sister, and has the most wonderful dream; a dream which immediately becomes a nightmare.

First of all, the Cheshire Cat introduces us to the mysterious world of Wonderland, and the inhabitants that live there. Then we meet a whole host of characters including the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Queen and, of course, the Mad Hatter! Will Alice wake up in time not to lose her head?

Alice The Musical is based on Lewis Carroll's story about a young girl who falls into a deep sleep whilst being read a book by her sister, and has the most wonderful dream; a dream which immediately becomes a nightmare.

First of all, the Cheshire Cat introduces us to the mysterious world of Wonderland, and the inhabitants that live there. Then we meet a White Rabbit running through the garden anxiously confronting his watch (I Am Late). Suddenly a hole opens up and both the Rabbit and Alice topple down it at great speed, on the way she is confronted by a whole host of strange creatures who taunt her with (Darkness). When she eventually reaches the bottom Alice finds herself in a room surrounded by doors all of which are locked, eventually after shrinking and growing and then shrinking again she begins to cry, her tears becoming so deep that she finds herself being carried along on the waves meeting the Dodo, Eaglet and Lorry who entertain her with The Sea of Tears and introduce her to the madness of The Caucus Race, which only starts as it ends and ends as it finishes. Suddenly, Alice finds herself alone and dreadfully missing her cat, which she sings about fondly (Dinah). Then through the trees the gardeners appear all in a tangle and a mess and launch into Just Around the Corner is my Maybe. Again, just as Alice has given up all hope of ever seeing her home again the Caterpillar looms large before her sitting on a giant mushroom and tells her to "stop bawling" and begins reciting, You Are Old Father William. Alice explains that she has been small for too long and would like to grow bigger again. The Caterpillar suggests nibbling a piece of his mushroom, quickly she begins to grow and as she does she notices a fish footman trying to present to the frog footmen an invitation for the Duchess from the Queen (The Footman's Ditty). The Duchess meanwhile is sitting in the kitchen cradling a baby, while the cook is pouring too much pepper into a cauldron of soup. They both launch into Speak Roughly to your Little Boy, which ends with the baby being thrown into the air, only it isn't baby it's a pig. Alice quickly escapes the scene and asks the Cheshire Cat which way she should go next, and is directed towards the Mad Hatter, who just happens to be having a tea party with the Dormouse and March Hare. This mad episode ends with the song, Facts, sung by the Hatter and the whole ensemble.

After the interval, we meet the Gardeners who are painting the white roses red in order to please the Queen (Painting the Roses Red), except the Queen is not pleased and demands that their heads be cut off. Alice intervenes and is immediately told her head will go as well! But before it does the Queen invites her to watch the croquet match, where flamingos are used as mallets and hedgehogs as balls (The Croquet Game). Alice next finds herself on the seashore talking to a Gryphon and a Mock Turtle who try and teach her a quadrille (The Lobster Quadrille). But the dance is interrupted by a crab telling them to hurry as the trial is about to begin. The trial is about who stole one of the Queens tarts baked this morning. The Knave is the chief culprit and one by one a number of the other characters are accused as well, including the Mad Hatter (Guilty). But suspicion falls once more upon the Knave as the White Rabbit tries to explain (Him Ourselves and It). Alice gets increasingly irritated by all this and leaps to their defence with, 'stuff and nonsense.' The Queen screams, "What!" and screams again, Off with her Dainty Little Head. During all this Alice finds herself growing until everything about her is nothing more than a pack of cards which in turn she picks up and throws into the air. After which, Alice wakes up and finds herself sitting with her sister who all the time has been reading the same boring book. Alice tries to explain her extraordinary adventures, and the musical ends with a refrain of Wonderland.

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • Elementary School / Primary
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Church / Religious Groups

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

Setting:

The show starts in the 'real' world with Alice sitting next to her sister and the show ends here too. The setting for the rest, and majority, of the show is Wonderland, a strange and mysterious world filled with strange creatures and where nothing is as it seems. Animals act as normal people, and physical size as well as time are relative.
Cast Attributes
  • Roles for Children
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

ACTOR 1: Alice

ACTOR 2: Cheshire Cat/ Lory

ACTOR 3: Door 2/ Bird / Duchess

ACTOR 4: Door 3/ Ollie/ Mad Hatter/ Gardener 1/ Gryphon

ACTOR 5: Door 1/ Cook/ March Hare/ Gardener 2/ Mock Turtle

ACTOR 6: Mary/ Bottle 1/ Eaglet/ Frog Footman/ Dormouse

ACTOR 7: White Rabbit/ Dodo /Fish Footman/ Executioner

ACTOR 8: Box/Squirrel/ Queen

ACTOR 9: Caterpillar/ King

ACTOR 10: Spider/ Mouse/ Wally/ Gardener 3

ACTOR 11: Bat/ Table/ Bird 2/ Bottle 2/ Knave

Ensemble: Crabs/ Underworld creatures/ Drones/ Flamingos/ Court/ Soldiers

Casting Notes

Writer's Notes (Clive Francis)

‘... May we not then sometimes define insanity as an inability to distinguish which is the waking and which is the sleeping life?’ - Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland is a child’s struggle to survive in the condescending world of adults. It is written as a nightmare; and a pretty uncomfortable one at that. Scary, bizarre, strange and as phantasmagorical as it can get. According to the Cheshire cat all the inhabitants of Wonderland are mad. ‘I'm mad. You're mad’. ‘How do you know I'm mad?’ replies Alice. ‘You must be you wouldn't have come here otherwise.’ The underlying message of Carroll’s story is a rejection of adult authority.

What Charles Miller and I have set out to do is capture an essence of Lewis Carroll’s lunacy –the dark turbulent side of his imagination- and to bring the story to life in a simple clear entertaining way yet without losing any of Carroll’s ‘stuff and nonsense’ and extraordinary descriptive powers of storytelling. In other words, it doesn’t matter how outlandish and eccentric the characters are, they mustn’t appear to be too comfortable and ‘chummy’; none of them are particularly nice people – attractive and witty on the surface but underneath each one carries an underlying fear of its own.

The one character that they are all terrified of and one that Alice stands up to boldly and unperturbed, is the Queen of Hearts. You really have to feel she means business when she says ‘Off with their heads!’

ALICE: The character of the seventeen year old Alice is not at all like what you would find in a typical children's book. Alice herself is a bit puzzling, even to the modern child, as she is a quaintly sensible, sometimes even pedantic, conducting herself with all the authority of a young adult. She must never come across as precocious but as quite a serious girl always questioning the logic of everything she encounters. When we first performed Alice the Musical at the London School of Musical Theatre, we had a series of Alice’s popping up during the course of the show. All the girls were of various sizes which helped convey Alice’s sudden changes of height which happens quite a lot. And then at the very end, for the final reprise of Wonderland, we brought all four of them on together, breaking the song up accordingly to accommodate each and every one of them.

THE CHESHIRE CAT: Is another whimsical character and should be portrayed with a slow, lazy, Eartha Kitt like drawl! Depending on the set, the famous grin can be made creating a huge cut-out mosaic of the cat’s face which can fly in, or be assembled by other members of the cast.

THE CATERPILLER: In this version I’ve made the Caterpillar an aging child of the 60’s; the only character that is out of synch with period and time. A slight American accent or mid-Atlantic accent wouldn’t go amiss.

All the other characters speak for themselves.

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland has entertained not only children but adults for over a hundred years. The tale has become a much quoted treasure troth for philosophers, literary critics and psychoanalysts; and I’m sure will remain so for many years to come. There appears to something in this extraordinary, beguiling story for everyone.

Music

  • Musical Style: Jazz, Contemporary Broadway
  • Dance Requirements: Moderate
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Piano Only
  • Chorus Size: Medium
1. ''Wonderland'' - The Cheshire Cat and Wood Nymphs
2. ''I Am Late'' - The White Rabbit
3. ''Darkness'' - Creatures
4. ''The Sea of Tears'' - Dodo, Eaglet and Lorry
5. ''The Caucus Race'' - Dodo, Eaglet, Lorry, Alice and Creatures
6. ''Dinah'' - Alice and Creatures
7. ''Just Around the Corner is my Maybe'' - Wally, White Rabbit and Ollie
8. ''You Are Old Father William" - Caterpillar and Ensemble
9. ''The Footman's Ditty'' - Fish Footmen and Frog Footmen
10. ''Speak Roughly to your Little Boy'' - Duchess, Cook and Kitchen Staff
11. ''Facts'' - Mad Hatter, Dormouse, Hare and Ensemble
12. ''Painting the Roses Red'' - Gardeners and Ensemble
13. ''The Croquet Game'' - The King, The Queen, Alice, Flamingos and Ensemble
14. ''The Lobster Quadrille'' - Turtle and Gryphon
15. ''Guilty'' - The King, The Cook, Mad Hatter, Ensemble
16. ''Dinah Reprise'' - Alice
17. ''Him Ourselves and It'' - The White Rabbit, Knave, Ensemble
18. ''Off with her Dainty Little Head'' - The King, The Queen, Alice and Ensemble
19. ''Wonderland Reprise'' - Full Company

Full Orchestration

Piano

Materials

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
20 Libretto Vocal Book 
1 Piano Vocal Score

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Authors

Clive Francis

Clive Francis is not only a writer but also an actor and successful caricaturist having designed and compiled a number of books including: Laugh Lines: The Many Faces of Gielgud: There's Nothing Like a Dane! (The Lighter side of Hamlet), There's Nothing Like a Thane! (The Lighte ...

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Charles Miller

Charles has become a highly regarded composer over the last decade. He has composed a number of musicals, many in collaboration with New York lyricist Kevin Hammonds. These include the highly acclaimed Brenda Bly: Teen Detective which opened at the Bridewell Theatre, London, and has since b ...

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