University of Pittsburgh
March 15, 2010

Pitt Rep Presents "Alice" March 24-April 3, a Fun-Loving Adaptation of The Lewis Carroll Classic

Children attending matinee performances are invited to a zany Wonderland-style tea party

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Pitt Rep, the University of Pittsburgh Department of Theatre Arts' mainstage company, will present the world premiere of "Alice"-a fun-loving and slightly zany adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"-March 24 through April 3 at the Studio Theatre in the basement of Pitt's Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The production, which blends live music, theater, and puppetry, is recommended for children ages 8 and older.

Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and the three matinees-Saturday, March 27, Sunday, March 28, and Saturday, April 3-begin at 2 p.m. Children's tickets are $7, student tickets, $12; general admission ranges in price from $16 to $22. Tickets can be purchased by calling 412-624-PLAY or at the Pitt Rep Box Office, open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, lower level of the Stephen Foster Memorial, Forbes Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard, Oakland.

While 2010 may arguably be the year of Alice-with filmmaker Tim Burton's much anticipated "Alice in Wonderland," an acclaimed Syfy television network miniseries "Alice" that premieres later this year, and Melanie Benjamin's best-selling new novel "Alice Have I Been"-Pitt Rep's rendering stands out not only as a unique take on the story, but also one that features a distinctive partnership among artists, resulting in a show that has been carefully crafted from all angles. Adapters Emilia Anderson and Tamara Goldbogen have collaborated with local musician Buddy Nutt to create a quirky visual and auditory delight for theatergoers, under the direction of Goldbogen and Sam Turich.

Although Pitt Rep's "Alice" plummets into a parallel universe where rabbits drink tea, cats spout philosophy, and characters depicted on cards try to behead Alice, Goldbogen says the fantastical story is "a pretty big departure from Carroll's novel."

A group of ragtag circus performers brings the tale to life, using breathtaking puppets, vivid imaginations, and physical dexterity. While most of the puppets are being designed and built onsite, the Alice puppet is being crafted by internationally known puppet designer Wavy Davy, best known for the puppets featured in the 1980s television series "Pee Wee's Playhouse." Currently a master puppet builder at IBEX Puppetry, Davy is donating his time and artistry to the project.

Songwriter and one-man band Buddy Nutt wrote more than 10 musical pieces for the production, ranging from bouncy to bizarre, from haunting to hilarious. Nutt's "soundtrack" that transports audiences into Wonderland is executed by the actors who form an onstage band with such traditional instruments as trumpet, organ, and guitar, as well as unusual ones, like wine glasses, a saw, autoharp, and ukulele.

As a special treat for younger audience members, the cast of "Alice" will host a post-performance Wonderland-style tea party after each matinee, at which children and accompanying adults will have the chance to meet Alice and the wacky Wonderland characters.