Damon Albarn's career has been admirably diverse – from Britpop (Blur) to electronica (Gorillaz) to opera (Dr. Dee, Monkey: Journey to the West). Now, the musician has added another unique page to his résumé by contributing music to wonder.land, a reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice in Wonderland. The production – which debuts in July during the Manchester International Festival – will also feature book and lyrics by Moira Buffini, direction by Rufus Norris, projections by 59 Productions and lighting by Paule Constable (War Horse). A general public on-sale begins at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 22nd.
Albarn first announced he was writing a musical in July. "It's funny for me to say, 'I'm writing a musical,' but yes, that's what I'm doing next," he told The Daily Star. "It's something I've always wanted to do, because musicals are great when they're done well. It started out with the same subject matter but was going to be a leftfield, experimental opera. But it's lurched into a mainstream musical for families."
According to a description on the MIF website, wonder.land tells the story of a 12-year-old named Aly, who escapes a life of being "bullied at school and unhappy at home" by entering wonder.land, "where you can be exactly who you want to be."
"Online, Aly becomes Alice: brave, beautiful and in control," the statement continues. "But some of the people she meets – the weird Dum and Dee, the creepy Cheshire Cat, the terrifying Red Queen – seem strangely familiar. As hard as Aly tries to keep them apart, real life and wonder.land begin to collide in ever more curious and dangerous ways."
wonder.land will visit London's Olivier Theatre in November, followed by a stop at Paris' Théâtre du Châtelet in 2016. Albarn released his debut solo LP, Everyday Robots, last April.