While Women on Verge.. was a massive flop that even the likes of Brian Stokes Mitchell and Patti LuPone couldn’t save, Wonderland was a trainwreck with no names (as fantastic as Kate Shindle is, she is not a name) and a huge budget that was spent entirely on sets, projections, and costumes, and not fixing the major story problems. 

I saw the second to last performance of Wonderland a few weeks ago and sat there stunned through each act.  The story started in Queens with a newly relocated mother and daughter, fresh from a divorce.  The mother is a writer and trying to finish a book, and is forced to open her imagination when her daughter is lured through the looking glass by the Queen.  

To start with there was no need to set the beginning and end in Queens.  Wonderland was basically the story of Alice in Wonderland with a few modern updates and a happy ending.  Kate Shindle was fantastic as the dominatrix-like Mad Hatter, and Morgan James (who I’d seen recently in concert) was excellent as Alice.  The book was all over the place, and some of the music was decent.  The only enjoyable moments were the humorous boy band numbers lead by the White Knight (Darren Ritchie).  

It was obvious that a bunch of wealthy individuals who were really unknowledgeable about theatre saw this as an opportunity to do something they could brag to their friends at the country club about.  I heard this was exactly the case: a bunch of people with money down in Tampa at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts saw the show and unfortunately didn’t see the problems.

Hopefully the next time they fall down the rabbit hole, it’ll be with something a little bit more successful. 

(photo via)

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