New Duncan Sheik Musical 'Alice by Heart' Sets World Premiere

Courtesy of Shervin Lainez
Duncan Sheik

The Lewis Carroll-inspired show set in World War II London reunites Sheik with his 'Spring Awakening' co-creator Steven Sater.

Alice by Heart, the new musical from the Tony Award-winning team behind Spring Awakening, will have its world premiere early next year as part of off-Broadway mainstay MCC Theater's inaugural season in its new $35 million permanent home.

An exploration of first love, loss, courage and the transformative power of the imagination, even in the harshest of times, the show is set amid the rubble of the London Blitz in World War II. The title character is a teenage girl forced to take shelter in an underground tube station with her friend Alfred during an air raid. When the ailing Alfred is quarantined, Alice coaxes him to escape with her down the rabbit hole of their favorite book to wonderland.

The show reunites composer Duncan Sheik and book writer Steven Sater, whose previous collaboration, Spring Awakening, currently is receiving renewed exposure as part of the central plot of the new NBC musical drama series Rise.

Directed by Jessie Nelson (Waitress), who also contributed to the book, Alice by Heart will begin performances Jan. 30 and run through March 10 at the Newman Mills Theatre, one of two stages in MCC's new Hell's Kitchen complex. The venue's other mainstage will be the Susan and Ronald Frankel Theater.

Scheduled to open later this year, the new space designed by New York-based firm Andrew Berman Architect will allow MCC to expand its programming in its 32nd season. In recent years, the off-Broadway company's productions have been housed in the Lucille Lortel Theatre in the West Village, where the remainder of this year's productions will be staged.

Also on the slate for MCC's new home are three plays making their New York premieres: Loy A. Webb's The Light (Jan. 9-Feb. 17); Aziza Barnes' BLKS (April 18-May 26); and Halley Feiffer's Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow (June 27-Aug. 4).