Alice: I thought that when you knew a book you had the chance to have it, as you always want to have it, in your head.
Alfred: It doesnt always end as books would have it end. Im a rabbit in a waistcoat, really, running out of time in Wonderland.
Alice: But how shall I be here without you now?
Alfred: That is the riddle...
Alice by Heart is a musical written by Spring Awakening composers Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, with a book by Sater and Jessie Nelson. Originally premiered by the Royal National Theatre in London in 2012, it's had several other productions since then, including an Off-Broadway run in 2019.
In the wake of the London Blitz during World War II, Alice Spencer is forced to take shelter in a London Underground tube station. Her friend Alfred Hallam is also there, but is quarantined with tuberculosis. Desperate to keep him hanging on, Alice urges him to escape with her into the book that brought them together, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. As the story plays out, the other people hiding in the shelter transform into the characters in the book.
A novelization of the musical, written by Steven Sater himself, was published in February 2020.
Provides examples of:
- All Musicals Are Adaptations: Played with. It's a mostly original story based around an often-told tale.
- And You Were There: The citizens of Wonderland are played by the same people from the bunker.
- Downer Ending: The musical ends with Alfred dying.
- Grief Song: The last song, "Winter Blooms", is sung by Alice as she accepts Alfred's death.
- Kangaroo Court: Carried over from the Alice book.
- Large Ham: Several of the characters, most notably Harold/Mad Hatter and Nurse Cross/Queen of Hearts.
- Setting Update: Trades in the Victorian setting of Alice in Wonderland for a World War II bunker.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Harold Pudding.