Alice Through a Whole New Looking Glass

Music By Frank Wildhorn

 Lyrics By: Jack Murphy

Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Alice in Wonderland was never my favorite fairytale.  Iíd read the Disney version and seen the Disney movie, read the Lewis Carroll tale that started it all and watched numerous live action incarnations of Alice in Wonderland and never really found an affinity for the tale.  And then I listened to Wonderland: Alice Through a Whole New Looking Glass and I suddenly gained appreciation for a fairytale that Iíve disliked since childhood.

            Released by Masterworks Broadway on May 3, 2011, the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Wonderland: Alice Through a Whole New Looking Glass features Janet Dacal as Alice, a modern day woman and mother whose life is spinning out of control.  Yearning for a happier time sends her on a quest through a world far below the streets of New York City where she meets a cast of characters that are somewhat familiar, but completely re-imagined.

            With music by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics by Jack Murphy, this Broadway musical turns the story of Alice and Wonderland on its ear while still bringing about the same message - to appreciate and celebrate the life you have now for the one you seek may not be so enjoyable. 

            I actually dreaded listening to this soundtrack before I knew that the old tale had been modernized, but once I started listening, I couldnít help but smile.  This version of Alice in Wonderland was new and exciting, taking place in an area Iím familiar with, featuring a new spin on timeless characters like the White Rabbit (Edward Staudenmayer), the Queen of Hearts (Karen Mason), the Caterpillar (E. Clayton Cornelious), the Mad Hatter (Kate Shindle), now a female, and the Cheshire Cat who is now El Gato (Jose Llano).  The music switches from jazz to rock and the lyrics are witty and incredibly catchy.

            After the first listen, I was smiling.  During the second listen, I found myself singing along and laughing at the witty lyrics in The Mad Hatter and Hail to the Queen.  One of the most beautiful and most meaningful songs on the album is Finding Wonderland in which Alice sums up what she has learned on her journey: ďíCause finding wonderland is going home again / To feel the love another gives and giving back and then / If you should lose your way reach out for someoneís hand / And you'll be finding wonderland

            After the second listen, I found myself wanting to see this Broadway musical as much as I wanted to see Wicked, but unfortunately, Wonderland had a limited run on Broadway and just finished its last show on May 15th.  What a shame - I would have loved to see the dancing and character presentation that went along with the awesome lyrics and music. 

            I suppose I may have to wait quite some time for the show to come back to Broadway, but I still have the album to enjoy!  Anyone who is a fan of Broadway musicals will love Wonderland, but most especially those who love the twist Broadway puts on its favorite tales like Mary Poppins and The Wizard of OzWonderland is a highly enjoyable album you wonít want to miss out on.


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