The Santa Barbara community has three opportunities in the coming year to experience the storied life of Alice Liddell, the girl who inspired “Alice in Wonderland,” Lewis Carroll’s adventure through the imagination wilderness.
Each of the staged productions offers its own narrative approach to Alice’s life, from a musical in war-torn London to a contemporary dance-stravaganza to an a cappella musical in the classic Oxford tradition.
First up is “Alice by Heart,” a new musical produced by Out of the Box Theatre Company, to be presented Nov. 10-19 at Center Stage Theater.
In this version, frightened Londoners huddle in the underground system waiting out the deadly blitz of air attacks during World War II.
To ease their minds, Alice regales her sickly friend Alfred with the wondrous tales from the other side of the looking glass.
While engrossing, the story cannot erase the war raging around them, and fiction and reality begin to merge.
Next, color and magic come to the Granada Theatre stage with “MOMIX: ALICE” on Feb. 20. A theatrical dance narrative by performance company MOMIX, this version of Alice’s story explores wonderland with dance, acrobatics and illusion.
Written by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater (the minds behind the popular “Spring Awakening”), “Alice by Heart” combines whimsicality with the slightly sinister for a dreamy but haunting rendition of Alice’s story.
Director Moses Pendleton’s creation is a family friendly adventure that follows Alice into a wild and surreal world of imagination. The journey down the rabbit hole reveals grace, athleticism, and enchanting stage magic.
As spring blossoms, a romance will grow between the adult Alice Liddell and Prince Leopold of England in Ensemble Theatre Company’s world premiere of the a cappella musical “Alice, Formerly of Wonderland.”
Written by Mark Saltzman, the unaccompanied musical features only vocal harmonization to tell the story of this playful romance — of which Leopold’s mother Queen Victoria does not approve.
The show’s style of madrigal-inspired music is a tradition at Oxford University, where the play takes place.
The continuation of Alice’s journey will be staged May 30-June 16 at the New Vic Theatre.