Oct. 17, 2019. By Shane O’Brien
An immersive musical is back by popular demand and has been hitting all the right notes in Long Island City.
Painted Alice returned to the Plaxall Gallery on Oct. 6 and has proved to be a big hit with audiences so far. The musical previously premiered in April and ran a little over a week.
The musical is loosely based on Alice in Wonderland, according to Greg Schaffert, who is an executive producer of the show.
The show is set in an art gallery and centers around a frustrated painter named Alice who falls through a canvas and enters a world full of strange creatures. The show is written for an adult audience and features some strong language and adult situations.
Schaffert, who is a Tony award winning Broadway producer, said that he was drawn to the show because of its message.
As Alice struggles to complete her first commissioned piece of work, she takes out her frustration on her life partner. When she falls through her canvas, she finds herself in a dark and comical land.
“The quirky characters Alice meets beyond the canvas teach her that there is more to life than art,” Schaffert said.
Schaffert said that the Plaxall Gallery is an ideal location for the show.
“Painted Alice belongs in LIC,” Schaffert said. “LIC needs a hip show like this. It speaks to lots of different people, not just artists. It has a really important message.”
The show is immersive and site specific. The characters mix with the audience and the audience even become judges at one point in the performance. Characters also reference and highlight art exhibitions visible in the theater during the performance.
Painted Alice is modeled somewhat after Sleep No More and Then She Fell, immersive and site specific shows based in Chelsea and Brooklyn respectively.
Schaffert said that the show had been in the works for almost 18 years. He first met the show’s writer, Bill Donnelly, in 2002 when the show was being written as a play.
The show was rewritten as a musical about ten years ago with the help of highly rated lyricist and composer Michael Mahler who has previously worked on Miss Saigon on Broadway.
A Broadway producer for over 20 years, Schaffert believes that the best way to spread hype about the show is through word of mouth stating, “The best advertisement in theater is word of mouth. It always has been.”.
Painted Alice is being run in a specially made, 100-seat theater in Gallery 3 of the Plaxall Gallery.
It is running in the Plaxall Gallery on Fridays at 8 p.m. and on Saturdays at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. It runs at 7 p.m. on Sundays and will also run occasionally on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for a student ticket.
The show is set to run until Dec. 29 but Schaffert said that it will be extended if it continues to perform as well as it is currently doing. He also plans to bring it to other art galleries around the country.