“Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure” is a delightfully raucous rock musical.

“Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure”
Theater Blog Post by Keith Mize

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“Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure” is a delightfully raucous rock musical.  Presented by the Childsplay Theatre and performed at the Tempe Center for the Performing Arts. This musical adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic has something for everyone. Kids will enjoy the journey Alice takes them on through Wonderland where they will meet many of the colorful characters in the original Carroll classic. Everyone will love the rock music reminiscent of the fast paced Disney songs kids and adults have grown to love. It may surprise you to know that all the music is actually played by the actors in the play, which makes the show a live music show as well as a wonderful play.  I was very pleased to see an amazing array of musical instruments played during the show.  If you take your kids to the show challenge them to count how many different musical instruments they can spot, you will be surprised.

The cast of actors brought life to this musical performance of classic Carroll chaos. The dancing, singing and musical performance was a real triple treat as well as a testament to the skill and dedication of this ensemble. Michelle Chin plays young Alice and does a spot on job bringing the ever inquisitive Alice to the stage. I especially liked how Alice’s cat Dinah was included via some creative puppetry (think Jim Henson) by Katie McFadzen.  My favorite songs were “Keep Your Temper”, “Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee”, and “(You’ll Never Be A) Red, Red Rose”.  Tommy Strawser played a marvelous caterpillar as well as Tweedle Dee. Fans of the band Tenacious D are really going to love Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee’s battle ballad, played by Tommy Strawser and Kyle Sorrell. “(You’ll Never Be A) Red, Red Rose” was a fabulously flamboyant song that pushed the attitude meter off the gauge.  The entire cast really put a musical flare on a cherished classic that worked so well.

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I would be remiss if I did not mention all the people behind the scenes, far too many to mention by name, who use their extensive musical and creative talents to bring this rock & roll adventure to life.  The set design (Aaron Jackson) and costume design (Connie Furr Soloman) were brilliant. The way Alice was depicted falling down the rabbit hole was amazing; and the costume and wig designs were truly Broadway worthy, an explosion of color and whimsy, what you might expect if Carroll and Seuss had a child.

The performance run time is approximately 85 minutes with no intermission.  On a practical note have young kids visit the restroom prior to the start of the play and as we parents say “try”.  Once again the Childsplay did not disappoint. My family had a wonderful afternoon at the theater and encourage anyone with young children or grandchildren not to miss this musical adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic.

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