Madness, Magic, and Mental Health: Entering the Whimsical World of Wonderland with the Mad Hatter musical !
During the 18th to 20th centuries, hat makers utilized mercuric nitrate, a form of mercury, to harden felt for hats, often working in inadequately ventilated spaces. As a result, hatters gradually breathed in the hazardous mercury fumes…leading to strange behavior and mannerisms that were often associated with madness.
For one night only, audience members of Theatre Maisonneuve of La Place des Arts were transported last night to the whimsical and magical world of Wonderland, with the World Premiere of the fully Orchestrated Concert version of “Mad Hatter The Musical.”
Featuring 24 original songs, this concert – pop musical, produced by Mad Hatter and the Orchestre Symphonique de Longueil, celebrates everything that makes us unique: from fitting in, to standing out and being loud and proud about who we are.
The creative team consists of award-winning composer and co-creator Michael J. Polo, book writer Vincent Connor and songwriter Victor Valdez.
For the Montreal show, they will be joined by music director Charlie Reuter (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), and Luis Villabon who narrated the story in English.
For the Montreal concert, the show, presented bilingually, was a co-production between Mad Hatter and the Longueuil Symphony Orchestra with local maestro Alexandre da Costa leading the orchestra.
“After attending the New York industry presentation of this musical, I instantly fell in love with the story and, of course, this music. I knew immediately that I wanted to be the first to bring this score to life with orchestra. This music is memorable, romantic, and lush,” says Da Costa.
The story follows the broken soul of Franklin Magellan ( aka Mad Hatter), from boyhood through all the tragic life events that led him to becoming the infamous character in the “Alice in Wonderland” story.
Wonderland is the magical “elixir ” to all of his real world financial, health and relationship troubles. Within it, he is void of pain and discomfort and the colorful characters he encounters along his way ( including the sassy, Cheshire cat Yola as a new high society love interest), brings new colors and excitement to his previous lackluster London life.
The “Mad Hatter the Musical” production is a work in creation being developed to play in both London’s West End and Broadway. Thus, the score is completed, however the production team is currently focused on creating costumes, decor, and everything else needed , including financing , to finish the show and sell it to Broadway and internationally.
The cast includes renowned actors and actresses from both Broadway and West End, such as Brittney Johnson, the first Black actress to play Glinda in “Wicked” on Broadway, Alice Fearn, Elphaba in “Wicked” in London’s West End, and Ra’ed Saade, known for his role in Netflix’s “My Unorthodox Life.”
The remainder of the cast and creative team are American, hailing from NYC, New Jersey, Miami & Tampa, with some Montrealers rounding out the chorus.
Check out below a few of the memorable songs from “Mad Hatter the musical” :
“In a Mood’, featuring the Cheshire Sisters Yola, Bola and Rola, from Mad Hatter the Musical.
“Just A Memory” a romance fueled duet featuring Yola (The Cheshire Cat) and Marybeth (The Mad Hatters Wife).
Executive Producer Shannon Bienvenue, a successful Montreal business executive, is confidant that “Mad Hatter the Musical” promises to be a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience with elements that will appeal to local markets with the grandeur of an international production. “
The show’s mission was not solely about entertainment. It also aims to normalize and contribute to the understanding of mental health and mental illness.
The Center for Family Guidance, a firm that provides mental health services, is one of the proud partners of “Mad Hatter the Musical.”
Ultimately , “Mad Hatter The Musical” is a thrilling and unforgettable new work with great potential for a large scale production, that is highly entertaining and suitable for audience of all ages.
Some elements that the audience members really appreciated were the light humorous moments, witty banter and lyrics and the exciting possibility to go on an adventure in the whimsical world of Wonderland , where we learn the backstory of some of the cherished “Alice in Wonderland ” characters from our childhood.
Also, the beautiful music truly inspires you to be true to yourself and embrace your own unique brand of magic !