Feature: ALICE BY HEART at Out Of The Box Theatre at Center Stage

Out-of-the-Box and Down the Rabbit Hole with "Alice by Heart"

By: Nov. 11, 2023
Feature: ALICE BY HEART at Out Of The Box Theatre at Center Stage
Feature: ALICE BY HEART at Out Of The Box Theatre at Center Stage

German bombs blast outside a London Underground station. Underneath, a group of strangers have taken shelter. Huddled among them, a young girl named Alice Spencer escapes the clamorous reality of war by entering the magical world of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. Out of the Box’s newest musical production, “Alice by Heart,” transports the audience along into a rabbit hole of fantasy in a modern retelling of “Alice in Wonderland” set during the London Blitz.

The creative minds behind the musical adaptations of “Spring Awakening” and “American Psycho,” Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, wrote “Alice by Heart” and this marks its West Coast premiere. I spoke with Samantha Eve, Out of the Box’s Artistic Director, who has focused her interpretation of the musical’s theme of “the power that the books that we love as children have on us even when we're not children anymore.” The essence of this motif has recently come to the small screen in “All the Light We Cannot See” based on Anthony Doerr’s novel of the same name. If you appreciate the mood and motif conjured by that story, you’re sure to enjoy “Alice by Heart.”

Local luminaries fill much of the cast. The production serves as a theatrical homecoming for Dos Pueblos High School alum, Nolan Montgomery, who has finished his college career and has been performing in regional theater. If you recall Montgomery’s stirring interpretation of Tony in "West Side Story" at DP, you’ll be eager to see how his talents are channeled in this show where he plays the male lead, Alfred Hallam (young Alfred Hallam is played by Chance Challen, another local talent). Current Bishop Diego High School student, Cassidy Broderick, plays the title character, Alice Spencer--pulling off a demanding rehearsal and performance schedule while she juggles academics and ballet training. The cast’s local connection makes the show a unique opportunity to see the talent that is present in our community, remarked Eve. 

“Alice by Heart” plays at Santa Barbara’s Center Stage in Paseo Nuevo from November 10th through the 19th. Seating at Center Stage is limited, so purchase tickets before they get snatched away.