Charles H. Stewart

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Alice In Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland is a musical by H. Saville Clark (1841-1893) (book and lyrics) and Walter Slaughter (music). Based on Lewis Carroll's book.


Alice in Wonderland opened on December 23, 1886 at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London, together with a similar work based on Through the Looking Glass. Phoebe Carlo played Alice. The Theatre wrote in its review, “Alice in Wonderland will not appeal to the children alone.... Mr. Savile Clark has done wonders.... The play is beautifully mounted, and splendidly acted, Miss Phœbe Carlo being very successful as the little heroine... she played in a delightful and thoroughly artistic fashion, and in the this respect she was closely followed by a tiny mite, Miss Dorothy D'Alcort, who play first the Dormouse.... Mr. Edgar Bruce, Mr. Walter Slaughter (who has written some charming music for the piece), and Mr. Savile Clark, all deserve unstinted praise....”

Alice in Wonderland starts on a perfect summer day in the park, where Alice sees a White Rabbit hurrying by. Curious to know where he is going, Alice follows him into the dark tunnel, thus beginning her adventure. After the Doorknob counsels Alice to drink from a bottle then eat a cookie, Alice shrinks, thus allowing her to fit through a keyhole, beginning her adventures with the Wonderland creatures. The White Rabbit leads Alice into twin jabbering clowns, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, who teach her some manners. Then, she plays a wild game of musical chairs at the Mad Hatter's tea party. Following the advice of the Cheshire Cat, she ends up at the Mad Hatter's tea party along with the evil Queen of Hearts. Waking up, Alice realizes the entire story has been a dream!


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The musical was frequently revived, including at the Globe Theatre in 1888, at the Opera Comique in 1898, at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1900, at the Camberwell Theatre in 1902, in 1908 by producer William Greet, and in 1914 at the Wimbledon Theatre, starring C. Hayden Coffin, at the Savoy Theatre in 1914-15, at the Duke of York's Theatre the following year, at the Garrick Theatre in 1921-22 and again at the Savoy in 1927-28.


As the book and its sequel are Carroll's most widely recognized works, they have also inspired numerous live performances, including plays, operas, ballets, and traditional English pantomimes.

through the looking glass