TIME Theater

See Photos From One of Alice in Wonderland’s Most Memorable Adaptations

On the 150th anniversary of the classic novel, a look at the Broadway rendition that drew rave reviews

July 4, 2015 is not only the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It’s also the 150th anniversary of the introduction of one of literature’s most memorable characters: Lewis Carroll’s Alice, of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, often shortened to Alice in Wonderland.

Carroll’s 1865 novel has been adapted for stage and screen dozens of times, but it was the 1947 theater adaptation at New York’s American Repertory Theater that drew high praise from LIFE Magazine for the way its lead actress, Broadway veteran Bambi Linn, embodied the ideals of Alice. LIFE’s editors explained a common misconception about the golden-haired heroine:

Carroll was a professor of mathematics and this is reflected in the character he created. For what makes Alice one of the great heroines of fiction is not that she is whimsical or imaginative but that she is a realistic person who remains superbly logical even in a land of fantastic nonsense.

All these years later, it’s a trait that serves well far beyond the outer limits of Wonderland.

April 28, 1947 cover of LIFE magazine
Philippe Halsman—LIFE Magazine

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

TIME Theater

J.K. Rowling Confirms Harry Potter Play Will Be Considered ‘Canon’

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will debut in London's West End next year

Earlier this week, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling made news when she announced that a play based on the boy wizard—Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—was coming to the London stage. While rumors swirled about what the title could mean and what Rowling meant when she wrote she was excited for the world to see the “untold part of Harry’s story,” details have been scarce about the project. One thing that Rowling has been clear on: the fact that even though this is a Potter story, it won’t be considered a prequel to the series.

That doesn’t mean that the play won’t be a part of the universe in a legitimate way, however, and Rowling wrote on Twitter to confirm that even though she is not writing the play herself, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be considered part of the Potterverse.

Tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which will make its debut at the palace Theatre in London’s West End next year, go on sale this fall.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME Harry Potter

Here’s When Harry Potter Is Going From Page to Stage

Archive Images of JK Rowling at the launch of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
Fred Duval—FilmMagic J.K. Rowling at the launch of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire at King's Cross Station in London.

Over 450 million copies of the books sold

J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular Harry Potter franchise is going from the page — and the big screen — to the stage.

The play, dubbed “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” is due to open at London’s Palace Theatre in summer 2016, the Associated Press reported.

The play is not a prequel to the Harry Potter novels, but rather focuses on a part of Harry’s story that has yet to be told. The seven novels by Rowling sold over 450 million copies. There were also eight films, with another on the way in 2016.

This is the first play from the franchise and is based on work from Rowling, Jack Thorne — a stage and screenwriter — and director John Tiffany, according to the report. The production will also feature music by British songwriter Imogen Heap, the AP said.

“I’ve had countless offers to extend Harry’s story over the years, but Jack, John and (producer) Sonia Friedman are a dream team!” wrote Rowling in a tweet.

Tickets are slated to go on sale in the fall, according to the play’s official website Harrypottertheplaylondon.com.

TIME Theater

Everything We Know About the Harry Potter Play

Get ready for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Muggles the world over were excited to learn that a stage play about Harry Potter will soon become a reality. But what exactly will this theatrical experience entail? Here’s everything we know about the play so far.

What is the play called?

The project’s title uses the tried and true formula of all of the novels: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

What’s it about?

J.K. Rowling was reticent about sharing too many details in her Twitter announcement. She described the play as a “new story,” and previous reports have speculated that it might be about Harry’s early years or the adventures of his parents, Lily and James. Rowling, however, says the play is “not a prequel.” She said she will keep tight-lipped about further details for now.

Why a play instead of another novel?

Rowling says she is “confident that when audiences see the play they will agree that it was the only proper medium for the story.”

Did she write the script herself?

She says it is “the result of a collaboration between writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and myself.” It seems that Rowling and Thorne worked together on the story, and Thorne wrote the actual script.

Is it a musical?

It doesn’t seem to be a musical based on reports so far; however, there will be music of some kind, courtesy of Imogen Heap.

Where will it run?

The show will be performed in London at the Palace Theatre.

When does it open?

Summer 2016.

When can I buy tickets??

Sometime this fall—more details will be found on the show’s website in late July.

TIME Theater

A Harry Potter Prequel Will Hit the London Stage in 2016

Accio, ticket sales!

Get your omnioculars out, fans: a Harry Potter play is on its way, set to open in summer 2016.

Billed as a prequel, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will run at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End, Entertainment Weekly reports. Although beloved Potter author J.K. Rowling is not writing the script, she is co-producing alongside industry veterans Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender. Dialogue will instead be written by English television writer Jack Thorne and directed by John Tiffany, who won a Tony in 2012 for directing the musical Once.

The play will “explore the previously untold story of Harry’s early years as an orphan and outcast,” according to a statement issued in 2013, when the play was first announced.

[EW]

TIME Theater

A Downton Abbey Musical Could Be in the Works

Downton Abbey, Season 5 on MASTERPIECE on PBSSundays, January 4 - March 1, 2015 at 9pm ETJIM CARTER as Mr Carson, ROBERT JAMES-COLLIER as Thomas, RAQUEL CASSIDY as Baxter, KEVIN DOYLE as Molesley, LAURA CARMICHAEL as Lady Edith Crawley, PENELOPE WILTON as Isobel Crawley, ALLEN LEECH as Tom Branson, MAGGIE SMITH as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, HUGH BONNEVILLE as Robert, Earl of Grantham, ELIZABETH McGOVERN as Cora, Countess of Grantham, MICHELLE DOCKERY as Lady Mary Crawley, MATT BARBER as Atticus, LILY JAMES as Lady Rose, LESLEY NICOL as Mrs Patmore, SOPHIE McSHERA as Daisy and PHYLLIS LOGAN as Mrs Hughes. (C) Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2014This image may be used only in the direct promotion of MASTERPIECE CLASSIC. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved. Editorial use only. USE ON THIRD PARTY SITES SUCH AS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER IS NOT ALLOWED.
Nick Briggs—Carnival Film & Television Ltd The cast of Downton Abbey

The show's composer says a stage show is coming

Could the Crawley family soon be warbling their way through World War I? Maybe, according to an interview with Downton Abbey composer John Lunn, who says a musical based on the show is in the works.

Lunn said in a radio interview that he’s working on a live performance about Lord Grantham and the gang. “There’s talk of [creator] Julian Fellowes and I and some of the cast doing a live tour the way Dr. Who did; 70% of it will be music from the show,” he said. “There might be some Elgar, there might be some jazz of the periods. Some of the actors will likely recite. We’ll have a screen. We may have the music live to several scenes. Julian may be the host.”

Sounds like a ball, but will it really come to fruition? “I’d say it’s a 75% chance it will happen,” Lunn reportedly said.

TIME Theater

The Musical From Smash Could Become a Real Musical

Celebrities Visit Broadway - June 9, 2015
Bruce Glikas—FilmMagic/Getty Images Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee of the cast of NBC's "Smash" reunite for The Actors Fund of America presents "Bombshell: The Marilyn Monroe Musical" special event closing night performance at The Minskoff Theater on Broadway in New York City on June 9, 2015.

Bombshell might be coming to life

Those still carrying a torch for NBC’s canceled drama Smash have something to rejoice about.

Universal Stage Productions are starting to develop Bombshell, the fictional musical about Marilyn Monroe featured in the show, into a real-life stage production, the New York Times reports.

Though the studios haven’t actually committed to the production, a team is already coming together, including producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan (who worked on the film adaptation of Chicago); Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (who did the music and lyrics for Smash and Hairspray); and even Steven Spielberg, who was Smash‘s executive producer, though his exact role isn’t yet known. The project will build a book around the songs from the show.

Earlier this month, Smash cast members reunited for a Bombshell concert that raised $800,000 for the Actors Fund.

[NYT]

TIME Theater

Triumphs for Women and British Plays in the 2015 Tony Awards

The hosts stepped aside for a night focused on the shows

Though they supplied banter and a couple of odd gags here and there, hosts Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth were not really the stars of this year’s Tonys. While previous hosts like Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman have used the platform as an opportunity to show off their song-and-dance chops, Cumming and Chenoweth, perhaps because they are such practiced Broadway veterans, mostly filled the breaks in between numerous performances (some of which, from non-nominated musicals seemed unnecessary) with non-sequiturs. The most random of them all? Chenoweth emerging in an E.T. costume, seemingly having mistaken Fun Home for “phone home.”

Cumming and Chenoweth’s mostly unobtrusive hosting duties meant that the focal point of the evening landed on the shows and performers being honored, and Fun Home was the most triumphant. The show, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about her lesbian identity and her closeted father’s suicide, won the Best Musical prize, and its leading man Michael Cerveris won in his category. Fun Home‘s success in the musical categories also meant a history-making moment for women at these awards as Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s win in the Best Original Score category was the first for an writing team made up solely of women. CBS didn’t air their speech in its entirety, but Tesori spoke about realizing that a “career in music was available to women” and described that as her own “‘Ring of Keys’ moment,” referencing the Fun Home song that was performed on the telecast by the young nominee Sydney Lucas. The song, she said, “is not a song of love it’s a song of identification, because for girls you have to see it to be it.”

In another exciting moment for women during the show, Marianne Elliott won Best Direction of a Play for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which dominated the play categories. Elliott, who has won previously for co-directing War Horse, said backstage, according to The Hollywood Reporter: “When I was growing up, I didn’t know any female directors, I assumed you had to be a man… It’s getting better in Britain now, but its still quite unusual. But I feel pretty good about it.”

Speaking of Britain, it was a good night for plays that, like Curious Incident, originated in the U.K.: Skylight took home the revival award, and Helen Mirren and Richard McCabe both won trophies (leading actress and featured actor, respectively) for their performances as the Queen and one of her prime ministers in The Audience. (The two also both won Olivier Awards in 2013.) It’s worth noting, however, that recent Juilliard-grad Alex Sharp, who won for best leading actor in a play, was new to Curious Incident for its Broadway run.

Perhaps the most joyful moment of the evening came when Kelli O’Hara, the beloved performer who had never won a Tony despite many nominations, finally got hers for her work in The King and I. O’Hara’s win was met by a standing ovation. She also gave the show its most GIF-able moment, as she announced, “I’m going to do the worm,” and danced off stage.

TIME Theater

Watch Alex Sharp Dedicate His Tony Award to Young People Who Feel Misunderstood

"Does that mean I can do anything? Yes it does”

Alex Sharp, 25, won this year’s Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play and has dedicated his award to young people who stand out or who feel misunderstood.

“This play is about a young person who is different and who is misunderstood and I just want to dedicate this to any young person out there who feels misunderstood or who feels different and answer that question at the end of the play for you, does that mean I can do anything? Yes it does,” he said.

Newcomer Sharp won his first Tony for his role of Christopher in the play-adaptation of the international best-seller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by British novelist Mark Haddon. The play follows Christopher, a teenager with an Asperger-like syndrome, as he tries to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbor’s dog.

A Curious Incident cleaned up at Sunday’s award ceremony, winning Best Play and Best Lighting Design of a Play. The Best Direction of a Play award also went to director Marianne Elliott.

See all the winners from the 2015 Tony Awards here.

TIME Theater

Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming Open the Tonys with a Showstopper

Odes to Harvey Weinstein and Helen Mirren

It was easy to predict that given that Alan Cumming, who has famously played the role of Cabaret‘s Emcee, was one of the Tonys hosts this year the show would use that musical’s “Willkommen” at some point.

And sure enough, that song did factor into Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth’s opening number. The two, both Tony winners themselves, sang snippets of Broadway classics, with setting-appropriate, rewritten lyrics, to start the show.

“Yes, again,” Cumming said as he began “Willkommen,” which now had the lyrics, “This is the last time I’ll ever sing this song.” Chenoweth added in song: “‘Til a revival paycheck comes along.” Chenoweth’s Broadway past also got a shout out, though she put a quick stop to Cumming’s rendition of her song “Popular” from Wicked.

The two also noted the Hollywood talents that were snubbed by the Tonys this year—Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman, who weren’t present—and Harvey Weinstein, producer of the musical Finding Neverland. The two looked at Harvey as they sang, “Smile.”

Weinstein was smiling, especially since they mentioned his show’s box office receipts. Helen Mirren, who ended up winning the Tony for her role in The Audience, got a version of “There Is Nothing Like a Dame” from South Pacific dedicated to her from Chenoweth and Cumming.

However, the hosts’ contributions were comparatively low key given that they introduced a performance of “A Musical,” the show-stopping number from Something Rotten! “A Musical” makes all kinds of nods to Broadway’s past.

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