Beat the Winter Blues: 5 Reasons People Are Going Mad for ‘Alice’

Alice in Wonderland: Corridor of Doors

Sick of short days, gray skies and cabin fever? Ditch reality, embrace the madness and find out why people are raving about their wild trip to PBT’s Alice in Wonderland. This imaginative production is onstage through Feb. 19, at the Benedum Center. Get your tickets before it’s too late!

Alice in Wonderland: Down the Rabbit Hole

1. The stagecraft is simply astonishing. Floating clocks, confusing corridors of doors, teapots that pour on command, Queens who appear out of thin air – we’re all mad here.

Alice in Wonderland: Mad Tea Party

2. Kids can’t get enough. From a dancing dormouse to mind-blowing magic tricks, there’s never a dull moment. According to one Tweeter, her six-year-old son was “ENTHRALLED.” Her advice? “Go now!”

Alice in Wonderland: Queen of Hearts
3. The Queen of Hearts’ performance is “DELICIOUSLY WICKED (Pittsburgh City Paper).” You’ll literally see red when the Queen loses her head over a game of croquet.

Alice in Wonderland: Playing Card Tutus 4. And, according to Facebook, everybody loves those tutus made of playing cards.

Alice in Wonderland: White Rabbit5. Really, it just “hit all the high points — from a surreal transition to Wonderland, replete with torso-less tutus and floating teapots, to the Rose Garden, dominated in no uncertain terms by a glamorous villainess, Queen of Hearts Julia Erickson (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).”

Getting curiouser and curiouser, but still need convinced? Find more interesting tidbits about the ballet here.

5 Things to Make You Curiouser & Curiouser About ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre opens Derek Deane’s zany Alice in Wonderland this weekend at the Benedum Center. Few things are impossible in this off-kilter world. Beginning with a surreal dive down the rabbit hole, illusion floods the stage with curiosities – a smorgasbord of doors, tutus made of playing cards, color-changing roses and size-shifting scenery. Seen through Deane’s creative lens on classical technique, the dancing complements the whimsy and wit of Lewis Carroll’s timeless story. Here are five things that will make you curiouser and curiouser about this blockbuster production:

1.    You won’t believe your eyes.
Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland takes production value over the top. The scenic design does justice to the surrealist world Lewis Carroll and illustrator John Tenniel created for the page, morphing from scene to scene through an elaborate series of painted drop curtains and 3D set pieces, including a puzzling assortment of doors, the Caterpillar’s toadstool and the Duchess’ house. Illusions add to the wonder – like a size-changing Alice, roses that change color as they’re painted and the rabbit hole’s dizzying succession of floating teacups, clocks and over-sized objects.

2.     It’s a Tchaikovsky ballet.
Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts

And you’d never guess he didn’t compose the score specifically for this production. The score is a masterful medley of Tchaikovsky orchestrations arranged, and added to, by Carl Davis. The score includes 15 excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s “Album for the Young” among other whimsical choices.

3.     It has a rock star creative team.
Alice in Wonderland Costume Sketches

The production features costume and set designs by Sue Blane, costume designer for the original stage and screen versions of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and illusions by Paul Kieve, who consulted on some of the Harry Potter films. The concept and choreography come from inventive choreographer Derek Deane, who originally created the work for English National Ballet, the company he led as artistic director for nearly 10 years. Dean was awarded the Order of the British Empire for Excellence in Dance in 2000, and he’s choreographed three world premiere works for PBT: Hungry Heart . . . We All Have One! (2004), Simply Simon (2005) and Anything Goes! (2006).

4.     You won’t recognize our dancers.
Alice in Wonderland, Hare & Mad Hatter
The wardrobe is utterly transformative. With 90 costumes, it brilliantly brings to life the curious characters Alice meets along her mind-bending journey – favorites from the original Carroll story like the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar and Queen of Hearts. Wardrobe also includes 18 wigs and 30 prosthetic pieces, like the Mat Hatter’s nose and chin, the White Rabbit’s nose, upper lip and ears, the Duchess’ jowls, nose and ears, and the Caterpillar’s nose. The character makeup can take hours for each performance.

5.    The dancing is dreamy.

Don’t let the production value fool you – the choreography holds its own alongside the madcap illusions and scenery. For each of the Lewis Carroll characters, Deane has devised a quirky movement vocabulary – like the undulating dance of the Caterpillar or the harried hops (and virtuosic solos) of the White Rabbit – to give them space to show off both personality and technique. The production also taps into the classical sweep of the corps de ballet – first as a twirling garden of Tiger Lilies, Pansies and Sweet Peas and then as a deck of cards with square tutus and a neoclassical edge to their movements.

PBT presents Alice in Wonderland Feb. 10-19, at the Benedum Center for nine performances, including a 7:30 p.m. Valentine’s Day performance. Don’t miss this very important date. Get your seats before it’s too late!

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Dance with Alice in Wonderland – SOLD OUT

Things are getting curiouser and curiouser as Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre comes to Phipps Conservatory!

On Sat., Feb. 4, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Let’s Move Pittsburgh invite children and their favorite grownup dance partner to get active together and “Dance with Alice in Wonderland!” Boys and girls will celebrate their un-birthday by learning ballet basics, acting out scenes from PBT’s upcoming production of “Alice in Wonderland” and meeting Alice herself. Smile like a Cheshire cat for a photo with the ballerina and, afterwards, explore the vibrant beauty of Phipps’ Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show. Registration includes Conservatory admission and a special discount to PBT’s production of Alice in Wonderland, opening Sat., Feb. 10, at the Benedum Center. Space is extremely limited and advance registration is required, so don’t be late for this very important date! Participants should wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

Two sessions of Dancing with Alice in Wonderland will be offered: one from 11 a.m. – noon and another from 1 – 2 p.m.

Admission is $45 for one adult and one child; you may register additional children for $10 each and adults for $20 each. Phipps members and PBT subscribers receive a discounted price of $40 for one adult and one child. This class is recommended for children ages 3 – 7. All questions may be directed to Jenna Bodnar by emailing jbodnar@phipps.conservatory.org, or by calling 412-622-6915, ext. 3702.

Before attending the class, please remember to complete and submit your consent forms. Completed forms can be scanned and emailed to jbodnar@phipps.conservatory.org, or brought to the Conservatory on the day of the event.