Alice In Wonderland has been entertaining audiences for decades. The Bay Area Children’s Theater has morphed this classic tale into a rockabilly 80’s inspired musical for young kids, and we love every beat and high note. Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure is an epic jukebox down the rabbit hole.
The musical was sprinkled with messages for the young audience. The first scene with Elisha X Benton as Lorina, Amanda Nguyen as Alice and Caroline Schneider as Dinah, is a typical conversation most siblings have. Lorina (Benton), is the sensible sister who is off to a party. She was invited but knows there are moments where you cannot go to a party, and you must entertain one’s self. She has her book and is trying to tell Alice (Nguyen) the importance of practicing piano and being okay with being young.
Alice goes into a song expressing her angst about feeling small. A feeling the young audience could relate to. The moment in life, when you are a child and all you want to be is a cool “big” kid.
True to form, Alice sees the White Rabbit (Andrew Mondello) and is curious to see where it is going. Alice then falls into Wonderland.
She is met with the sassy Caterpillar (Kris Anthony Williams). The Caterpillar is the friend that always plays Devil Advocate; hot-tempered, wise and witty. Williams brings sass and humor this role. Williams captures the young audience with a physicality that is necessary for a children’s play. During the interaction between Alice and the Caterpillar, the audience learns the importance of knowing who you are and where you are going.
Now the most memorable scene of Alice In Wonderland is the tea party scene. Earl Alfred Paus takes on the Mad Hatter role. The Mad Hatter makes no sense and a bunch of sense all at the same time. Paus jumps up and down and talks in riddles. A clear example to kids that even if someone looks and acts “mad”, they can be harmless and are just different.
When Alice finds herself in the Queen’s garden she comes across two white roses, Felicity (Elisha X Beston) and Bianca (Cassie Grilley). By far two of my favorite characters. Beston and Grilley capture the essence of Laguna Beach/Instagram Model/Reality Stars, personality. Two beautiful roses that change themselves to be liked and loved. They encourage Alice to be just like them. However, Alice stands up for herself and tells Felicity and Bianca that she is perfect just the way she is.
Schneider comes back to the stage as the Red Queen. Schneider has an 80’s rock-inspired solo as the Red Queen. Wow! Her voice was powerful and capture the audience, even the adults.
Andrew Mondello shines and is hilarious as the Chester Cat. The Chester Cat is full of wit and loves to start issues. Mondello spits out wisdom from the floor, from a window, everywhere but still.
The play ends with Alice and the Jabberwock “fighting” in an old school dance off. Nguyen and Mondello go back and forth with their best moves. A final lesson for the kids. That differences don’t have to end in fights.
Let’s all join the Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure cast wants you and your child to follow them down the rabbit hole.