You’ve *never* seen Alice in Wonderland like this. The Magic City Theatre Festival (presented by Birmingham Children’s Theatre) has recreated Alice in Wonderland for a modern Birmingham audience. We sat down with the director, Brandon Bruce, and star, Emma Brooke “EB” Levering, to get the inside scoop on the performance. There are limited seats, so get your free ticket now! Shows are taking place May 30-June 2 and June 13-16.
A fresh take on a classic tale
This isn’t Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland. Along with a Sloss Furnaces-inspired set, this updated version of the story has some recognizable tunes (Uptown Funk included!) and new characters.
“I adapted the original story with Luke Schares. We wanted to create a wonderland from Sloss Furnaces–this new take comes from the steel, industrial origins of Birmingham. We’ve also injected a lot of pop culture music and parody. Think Weird Al doing an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.”Brandon
“It’s steampunk at Sloss. The set is really different–there’s steampunk furniture, pipes, monkey bars, a ridiculously long ladder…”
Being 12 can be a strange time (I remember when!). You’re just beginning to try to figure out who you are (I’m still trying, I think). Alice in Wonderland takes this idea and tells a story about it in a fun, whimsical way.
“The story is about about a young girl finding her own identity, which is constantly changing all the way through the play. Sometimes she’s giant, sometimes she’s small, sometimes she’s on trial for no reason. When you’re really young, identity is a fantasy. At age 12 like Alice, you’re really starting to think about who you want to be.”Brandon
At 12 years old, EB Levering is the youngest member of the cast (in fact, she’s the only non-adult member of the cast!). Brandon chose her for the role because “she’s brilliant,” and he says has never met an actor her age with her level of talent.
EB started acting in summer camps with her sister several years ago. In addition to loving the stage, she’s also apparently a stellar soccer player and student. I asked her what she loves about acting:
“I like to act because acting gives you the freedom to add bits and pieces of who you are to your character. You can add yourself into the mix. I can just be myself and not be judged for who I am.”EB
I also asked her what her favorite part about playing Alice is:
“Being with the cast. They’re amazing. I feel like actors in general are considered to be kind of the weirdos, but it’s nice to be part of a group that understands each other.”EB
I think we can all relate to that!
What you need to know about the show
Fans of the original story won’t be disappointed. It may be a retelling, but you’ll certainly recognize the beloved characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass novels.
“It’s a high-energy, very physical show. We have an entirely female cast. We have a lady mad hatter–it’s a lot of fun.”Brandon
EB’s top three reasons for attending: “It’s FREE. It’s going to be fun. There are bubbles.” Who doesn’t love bubbles?!
The audience will also be able to get in on the fun during the show. I won’t spoil the surprises, though–you’ll have to check out a performance and see for yourself! The shows are free to the public, and all ages are welcome (but it may be best to leave littles under five at home).
More information and links to tickets below:
Run time: 80 minutes, no intermission. Yes, it might be wise to take that break beforehand. 😉
Show times and dates:
May 30th to June 2nd at Sloss Furnaces
Bring your lawn chairs, quilts, etc. and get comfortable. The show will be located in in the Cast Shed.
May 30th @ 7:00 p.m.
May 31st @ 7:00 p.m.
June 2nd @ 2:00 & 6:00 p.m.
There is no show June 1st.
June 13th to 16th at Riverchase Galleria
These shows will take place in in the central food court. There are 300 seats available on a first come, first served basis. It’s standing room only beyond the 300 seats.
June 13th @ 7:00 p.m.
June 14th @ 7:00 p.m.
June 15th @ 2:00 p.m.
June 15th @ 7:00 p.m.
June 16th @ 2:00 p.m.
NOTE: Seating for all performances opens one hour prior to show time.
Signed shows for those with hearing impairment: Sunday, June 2nd @ 2:00 p.m. & Sunday, June 16th @ 2:00 p.m.
Reserve your spot and see the show before it’s too late!
Free performances of Alice in Wonderland are made possible with the support of the City of Hoover, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and Protective Life Foundation.