|Kansas City, MO – This summer, The Coterie will produce the world premiere of the new family musical, Alice’s Wonderland, adapted from Lewis Carroll’s classic story and featuring an original score with book, music and lyrics by J. Quinton Johnson and Julia Riew — based on a treatment by Linda Chichester and David Coffman. Directed by Brianna Woods with musical direction by Delano Mendoza and choreography by Marc Wayne, Alice’s Wonderland will be performed live on The Coterie’s mainstage located in Crown Center, June 21-August 7, 2022.
ABOUT THE MUSICAL
In Alice’s Wonderland, Alice is a teenage video game designer who dreams of changing the world with her new video game, Wonderland. When Rabbit suddenly emerges from the screen and offers her an escape from reality, Alice takes the leap – and lands in an elusive world that challenges her to find her inner strength. Freely adapted from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and featuring an original score that could be found on Billboard’s Hot 100, Alice’s Wonderland music has not been heard before in theatre for young audiences.
Alice’s Wonderland is co-written by J. Quinton Johnson, a multi-talented composer and performer who is currently in the cast of Hamilton on Broadway, and Julia Riew, an accomplished writer who is a St. Louis native and recent graduate of the Harvard Theater and Music program. It is based on a treatment by Linda Chichester and David Coffman of HipHopMusicals.com. “Since Alice’s story has been adapted in so many ways, I looked forward to unearthing a new story,” says Riew of their first collaboration together. “We dreamed up the entire world and story together [and] Q took the lead on music and lyrics, while I took the lead on the book. One of the things that we wanted to do with this adaptation was to focus on making Alice an active protagonist!” exclaimed Riew of their decision to make Wonderland a place of Alice’s own creation. “What better way to have Alice happen to Wonderland than have her actually build Wonderland herself?!” explained Johnson. Riew adds, “This isn’t just any Wonderland. This is Alice’s Wonderland. This is an adventure that she decides to jump into, and she makes every decision every step along the way.”
“The story of Alice’s Wonderland was inspired by our experiences as artists,” continued Riew, “We both faced a lot of self-doubts when we started out. Social media’s focus on instant gratification and constant exposure can make it easy for kids to become critical of themselves… to let self-doubt sneak in. Our Alice goes through this and ultimately learns how to stay true to herself, while finding the strength to finish her dream project.”
“Dreaming and imagination are as essential to our development as human beings,” says Johnson. “Alice is a dreamer, but she has to believe in herself even when it feels like no one else is interested.” Director Brianna Woods adds, “Self-confidence isn’t an instant gift. It is found on a journey that is confusing and frustrating and full of surprises – but the journey teaches us so much about ourselves.”
The exciting use of various styles of music in Alice’s Wonderland will delight audiences. Woods enthuses, “This music is contagiously good. Once the beat drops you can’t help but want to jump in and join the party. It’s an instant rump-shaker!” Producing Artistic Director Jeff Church brags on Adam Hooper’s set design, “Audiences are in for an astonishing experience as we watch Alice get drawn into a giant MacBook that’s nearly the size of our whole stage!”
The Coterie’s production of Alice’s Wonderland will run approximately 65 minutes with no intermission and will be best appreciated by families with ages eight and older.
Alice’s Wonderland is directed by Brianna Woods with musical direction by Delano Mendoza and choreography by Marc Wayne. The cast features Genevieve Lefevre (as Alice), Robert Vardiman (as Rabbit), Courtney Germany (as Cat), Douglass Walker (as Caterpillar), Amari Lewis (as The Queen), and Danny Gage (as The Mad Hatter). The artistic and production company includes Mackenzie Goodwin Tran (production stage manager), Scott Hobart (technical director), Adam Hooper (scenic designer), David Kiehl (sound designer, projections programmer), Jarrett Bertoncin (lighting designer), and Georgianna Londré Buchanan (costume designer), Selena Gonzalez-Lopez (projections designer), Caitlyn Dreher (animations designer), and Addison Price (production assistant/COVID safety manager).
Alice’s Wonderland was written co-written by J. Quinton Johnson and Julia Riew based on a treatment by Linda Chichester and David Coffman.
J. Quinton Johnson is a multi-hyphenate from the small town of Athens, TX. He studied musical theater at the University of Texas at Austin where he was discovered by Richard Linklater for the feature film Everybody Wants Some!! He also appeared in Linklater’s Last Flag Flying. Other screen credits include ABC’s Dirty Dancing, The Son, We Can Be Heroes and the upcoming XYZ horror indie The Summoned. On stage, Quinton made his Broadway debut in Hamilton as the first replacement for the role of Hercules Mulligan/James Madison. He was in the Tony-nominated play Choir Boy and productions of Footloose and In The Heights at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In addition to the music, book and lyrics for Alice’s Wonderland, Quinton wrote the orchestrations and produced the tracks, combining so many of his musical passions in one project. Currently, he is still in Hamilton on Broadway while working on new musical works for film, television and theater.
Julia Riew is a Korean-American composer-lyricist-playwright from St. Louis and NYC. Julia was the inaugural recipient of the Musicians United for Social Equity (MUSE) Linda Twine Scholarship (2021) as well as a member of the first Maestra Music Mentorship Program (2020-21). At Harvard, she pursued a joint-concentration in Theater and Music, studied songwriting under Grammy Winner Esperanza Spalding, co-founded the Asian Student Arts Project (a community created to provide the resources and support for Asian student artists), and received the 2020 Radcliffe Doris Cohen Levi Musical Theater Prize. Her original work has been featured at the American Repertory Theater, Harvard University, UNC-Greensboro School of Theatre, Nora Theatre Company at Central Square Theater, University of Missouri, and Community Music School of Webster University.
Linda Chichester is co-founder of HipHopMusicals.com. She is currently collaborating with 5 writing teams whose projects include: Hip Hop Cinderella, Alice’s Wonderland, Hip Hop Frankenstein, Little Red Raps – A Celebration of Neurodiversity, and Little Hip Hop Mermaid. Linda is a BFA graduate of Hofstra University and CTI Commercial Theater Institute Seminars. A member of Women In Music, Linda has shepherded the development process of various musicals through readings, workshops, productions, and raised financing. Additionally, Linda scouts Broadway and Off-Broadway shows for overseas buyers. She is also a member of the board of Amas Musical Theatre.
David Coffman is co-founder of HipHopMusicals.com. He is thrilled their first two musicals are having 5 productions this coming season. David conceived and produced the Latino Off-Broadway musical 4 Guys Named José and conceived and produced the musical Blackbirds of Broadway which started at the National Alliance of Musical Theatre Festival and played regional theaters across the U.S., the Montreal Jazz Festival, and two European tours. David is also the Managing Director of Sundance Productions Inc, which is the New York office of BB Promotion GmbH, one of the leading firms providing high-quality musicals and live entertainment in Europe including international tours of West Side Story and The Harlem Gospel Singers. Also New York representative for Scandinavia’s largest theatrical stage rights agency, Nordiska ApS, David has negotiated international licenses and the foreign language live stage rights for many Broadway musicals including The Addams Family, Flashdance, Hairspray, Spring Awakening, The Full Monty, Avenue Q (Helsinki), Wicked (Helsinki), The Last Ship, and Next To Normal. Additionally, David negotiated licenses for Cats and Rock of Ages in Mexico. David speaks at Commercial Theater Institute and at the seminars on the international licensing of Broadway musicals.
SHOW DATES, TIMES & TICKETS
The Coterie, named “One of the Five Best Theaters for Young Audiences in the U.S.” by TIME magazine, will begin Alice’s Wonderland on June 21 and run through August 7, 2022, in The Coterie Theatre, located on level one of the Crown Center Shops in Kansas City, MO. Press Night will be held on Friday, June 24, at 7:00 p.m. The performance runs approximately 65 minutes with no intermission and will be appreciated by families with ages 8 and older. All tickets are on sale now by calling The Coterie’s box office at 816.474.6552 or visiting www.thecoterie.org.
- Individual Tickets: Tickets are $14.00 for youth under 18, students, and seniors 60 and older; $18.00 for adults, depending on performance date.
- Group Pricing: The Coterie offers groups of 20 or more special rates ranging from $6.00 – $12.00 per person, depending on performance date.
Production photos will available online at www.thecoterie.org/press-room.
The Coterie Theatre was designated by TIME magazine in the top three theaters for young audiences in Nov. 2004, calling it “groundbreaking… one of the nation’s most respected.” The Coterie, located in Kansas City, Missouri, has been at the forefront of commissioning new works or adaptations that contribute to the field of theatre for young audiences. More than 50 world or American premieres for all ages have been produced by The Coterie over the last 25 years, during Artistic Director Jeff Church’s tenure, including hosting multiple major Broadway composers and lyricists to shape quality musicals for youth and families. The Coterie is interested in intergenerational conversation, and consistently includes teen programming in its season and outreach efforts. The Coterie’s community programming redefines traditional notions of work for young audiences with its unique dramatic writing programs, teen LGBTQ work, as well as its preteen mental health program, overseen by Executive Director Joette Pelster and a dedicated staff. All these components serve an average of 80,000 per year through over 350 performances. The Coterie Theatre School has drama class locations throughout greater Kansas City. Donate at www.thecoterie.org.