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SCCC's Summer Musical, Alice by Heart, opens 7/19

6/17/2024 12:00:00 PM

The Visual and Performing Arts Department at Sussex County Community College (SCCC) presents its summer show, “Alice by Heart” a touching musical inspired by Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, with music by Tony® and Grammy® award-winning creators of Spring Awakening, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, and book by Steven Sater and Jessie Nelson.

This is the second year the SCCC’s theater program is performing a summer production, with special guest director SCCC Alumnus Alex McCully (‘20) of Newton. The production team includes music director, Dr. Deborah Gianuzzi of Newton, who is also the coordinator of music at SCCC; choreographer Kimberly Jackson of Newton; stage manager Jodi Halteman of Andover; costume and properties manager Sarah Hale of Oxford; technical director Phil Cocilovo of Montague, and producer Allison Ognibene of Sparta, SCCC theater liaison. A generous gift was made by a patron of the theater program to support the summer musical.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Alex McCully back at the helm for our summer production, sharing his incredible talent and creative insight, working with students from SCCC and other colleges and recent high school graduates,” remarked Ognibene. “In fact, during the first reading, I was in awe to see that a majority of the college students either graduated from Sussex County Community College or County College of Morris and have transferred on to continue on their theater education. This is a testament of the strength of the New Jersey Community College system.”

This is Alex McCully’s second time directing at SCCC since graduating as a Film Studies major, who was involved with many college theater productions. His first directorial post-graduate show came at the cusp of the pandemic ending in 2021 with “A Closer Look: an Evening of One Acts and Song,” a show he conceptualized and worked with current students and collaborated with North Star Theater Company where he directed Lin Manuel Miranda’s “21 Chump Street”

and a cabaret. He currently works as an acting and film teacher at Faith Center for the Performing Arts in Somerset, where he also directs productions. He is also a manager and performer at Wild West City. His film credits include the Amazon Series "Paraseekers" and his most recent film, "The 3 steps to Love & Scamming," premieres soon.

McCully has wanted to direct “Alice by Heart” since it appeared off-Broadway in 2019. “I am a big fan of Steven Sater’s work and connected with him during the pandemic on social media,” remarked McCully. “Recently, MTI, the licensing company put out a notice that this musical will need to be performed by June 2025, I thought it was now or never. SCCC was approached and we have assembled an incredible team! I can’t wait for audiences to see our production!”

“Alice By Heart” takes place in the rubble of the London Blitz of World War II, when Alice’s life is turned upside down and she and her dear friend Alfred are forced to take shelter in an underground tube station. Alice confronts grief, loss and love with the help of her favorite book, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’ When the ailing Alfred is quarantined, Alice encourages him to escape with her into their cherished book and journey down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. As they travel through the tale, Alice by Heart explores the poignancy of first love, coming to terms with loss, and finding the courage to move forward. The story encourages us all to celebrate the transformational power of the imagination, even in the harshest of times. This show is rated PG-13.

The cast and production crew of "Alice by Heart” include:

"We have such a wonderful opportunity for the arts in Sussex County and at SCCC. I am so excited that music and theater are alive in our community and the college. We have such talented directors, cast, and crew working on this musical so come on out and join this wonderful production," stated Dr. Gianuzzi.

Show dates are Friday, July 19 at 7 pm; Saturday, July 20 at 2 pm and 7 pm; Sunday, July 21 at 2 pm. Tickets are $15 general seating and $10 for students, seniors and US military. Sussex County College is located at 1 College Hill Road, Newton, NJ 07860. Tickets are on sale at Sussex.simpletix.com.

Learn more about the Visual and Performing Arts and Technical Studies programs at SCCC. “Alice by Heart” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All Authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com.