Damon Albarn’s New Musical Will Remake ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 01.21.15 in News

Damon Albarn has gone down the rabbit hole.

The Blur and Gorillaz leader wrote the music for an upcoming musical based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, as NME reports. Titled wonder.land, the musical will debut this July at Manchester International Festival, the U.K. event that has premiered the two operas with music by Albarn, 2011′s Dr Dee: An English Opera and 2007′s Monkey: Journey to the West.

Albarn is “fascinated by the idea of going down a rabbit hole, the otherworldliness and what that might mean,” he’s quoted as saying. “Alice aside, the Queen of Hearts, the Duchess, White Rabbit [and] Caterpillar were the most threatening characters of my childhood. I was genuinely very frightened of them as a kid.”

The theatrical production is billed as centering around Aly, a bullied and miserable 12-year-old who, “online,” finds she “becomes Alice: brave, beautiful and in control.” Directing wonder.land will be the U.K. National Theatre’s incoming director, Rufus Norris. Moira Buffini, a veteran English playwright and screenwriter, wrote the lyrics.

After Manchester, wonder.land will hit the stage at the National Theatre’s Olivier Theatre in London this November. That will precede a run at the Théatre du Chatalet in Paris in 2016. Monkey visited New York City during the 2013 Lincoln Center Festival, so there’s at least a chance at U.S. dates.

Albarn previously teased his upcoming musical in an interview last summer, saying that it “was going to be a left-field, experimental opera, but it’s lurched into a mainstream musical for families.”

Last year brought Albarn’s official solo debut album, Everyday Robots, and he’s nominated for a Brit Award. His Africa Express project recently recorded a 50th-anniversary tribute to Terry Riley‘s landmark minimalist work “In C.” Albarn has also recently hinted he’ll revive his conceptual hip-hop project, Gorillaz, next year, and he has reportedly finished writing an album’s worth of music for another of his bands, the Good, the Bad and the Queen.

Below, see the poster for the musical, and scroll down to hear “Sister Rust,” Albarn’s song from last year’s Scarlett Johannsson action film Lucy.

'Wonder.land,' Damon Albarn, poster