In Spring of 2007, Elly Lichenstein, Director of the Cinnabar Opera Theater asked me if I would be interested in composing the music for a staged adaptation of Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland for their youth theater program. The libretto, by Marcy Telles, was mostly completed at the time and they just needed someone to set it to music over the next 16 months. The challenge for me was to write music that was, to my ear, interesting, yet could still be sung by high school and middle school kids. For ensemble parts, ones that would likely be performed by the younger, less experienced musicians, I stuck to very simple melodic lines and rhythms while the leads were given considerably more challenging parts.
For my concert in April 2011, I took the opportunity to rearrange several selections from the show to be performed by a few adults.
The Chamber of Doors follows Alice as she eats cupcakes and drinks potions, all of which make her grow and shrink as she tries to fit through minuscule locked doors in pursuit of the White Rabbit. Throughout this ordeal, she is alternately mocked and encouraged by a chorus of Doors. Note the difference in complexity between the Doors melodies (aka, the ensemble) and Alice’s.
In Lullaby, Alice shares a tender moment with a baby who ends up being more pig than cherub.
Finally, in The Mad Tea party, Alice finds herself in the questionable company of a pompous, bossy Mad Hatter and a narcoleptic Dormouse. Hijinks, naturally, ensue.