Not since "Wicked" has there been a show that captures the magic, fun, and excitement of Broadway! That is exactly how I felt after seeing the new Broadway musical "Wonderland" at the Marquis Theatre in NYC. Directed by Gregory Boyd, with lyrics by Jack Murphy and music by Frank Wildhorn, "Wonderland" tells a great tale of finding out who you are, pursuing/following your dreams, and never letting go of the child inside you.
Each of the leading roles get their shining moment. Janet Dacal uses her powerful vocals to convey the multitude of emotions and experiences her character "Alice" experiences throughout the show. From hope to defeat to longing to inspiration, Janet's shines through it all and takes the audience on a thrilling ride with her. I first came to know of Darren Ritchie when he was in the chorus of Broadway's "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (also at the Marquis Theatre) and to see him now in a leading man role as "Jack The White Knight" is pure delight and Darren steps into this role with confidence, charisma, and talent to back it up. Darren's vocals are great throughout all of "Wonderland", but when sings "I Am My Own Invention" as "The Victorian Gentleman" in Act II, it's evident why Darren Ritchie is a leading man! His vocal talent is so skilled and soulful, it blew me away! Adding quite a bit of comedy to "Wonderland" is the extraordinarily talented Jose Llana as "El Gato." When Jose is on stage, laughter will be ensued. He gets his solo number which features his amazing vocals while every other scene showcases his comedic talent! Edward Staudenmayer also adds much comic relief as "The White Rabbit." Bringing down the house with her riffing and belting is Karen Mason who's vocal quality is unreal and deserves every ounce of applause it gets! Kate Shindle is wickedly devilish as "The Mad Hatter" with a strong voice that glows during her numbers. Playing "Chloe" is Carly Rose Sonenclar who has quite a voice for such a young age. It's big and powerful and I can't wait to see her rise up in the coming years.
Susan Hilferty perfectly designed some colorful and creative costumes which are inline with this imaginative and fun musical. I can't write a review without giving a shout out to Tom Watson who put his signature mark on the hair and wigs as Tom has been doing since I met him over 10 years ago (I first came to know Tom when we worked at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA in the late '90s and now to get to see his name attached to so many Broadway shows is just wonderful because he deserves it all).
I must devote a paragraph to the music by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics by Jack Murphy. The songs written for this show are inspiring, uplifting, and most of all identifiable. So many of the songs relate to everyday life and are good for kids and adults to hear as it will remind them to keep dreaming, respect yourself, and know that it's okay to have your tough moments, but not to ever give up. "Worst Day of My Life," "Home," "Through The Looking Glass," "I Am My Own Invention," and "Once More I Can See" are just some of the songs that reflect these feelings.
"Wonderland" is a show to see for the dreamer, believer, and child inside you! If you take the time to go "Through The Looking Glass," you might just discover a world you never knew...whether that be yourself or your dreams!
"Wonderland" plays at the Marquis Theatre in NYC (1535 Broadway, between 45th & 46th Street).