The Tuachan Amphitheatre in the Padre Canyon in southern Utah. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Usually my mantra is the book is always better. The movie, the television show, the play—none of them will do the printed version justice.

Boy, was I ever wrong with Wonderland.

When I reviewed the book several years ago I wondered what all the hoopla was about.

I would never have guessed this could be made into an entertaining, captivating musical. The play used to be called Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure as well as Wonderland: A New Alice. It was written by Jack Murphy and Gregory Boyd, with lyrics by Murphy, and music by Frank Wildhorn.

There is actually an Alice in Wonderland musical. This debuted in England in 1886. It, too, was based on Lewis Carroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871).

The adaption I saw this month builds on the original works, taking the concept to a deeper level that makes it much more enjoyable. Plus, it was not convoluted like the book I read. The play was easy to understand, enjoyable and memorable in a good way. The music was enjoyable, the acting outstanding, set design creative, and costumes fun.

Considering most of the audience was adults, this clearly was not a children’s production. While kids may not understand the adult nuances, I think they would be entertained.

Adding to the experience was the setting. If you are ever in southern Utah, check out Tuacahn Amphitheatre. This outdoor theater set among the red rocks is impressive.

Friends I was with have been to Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, and while that is larger than the Utah venue, they prefer this one for the overall beauty.

At Tuachan it is possible to see multiple productions in one visit. Also playing while I was there last week were Mary Poppins and Joseph: The Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat.


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