Friday, July 12, 2024

Sussex County Community College Alumnus Directs College’s Summer Musical “Alice by Heart”  

Friday, July 19, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 20, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, July 21, at 2 p.m.

NEWTON, N.J. – 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 Adventures 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.

“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 Allison Ognibene, producer of the show. “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. 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.  

Tickets are $15 general seating and $10 for students, seniors and US military. SCCC is located at 1 College Hill Road, Newton. Tickets are on sale at Sussex.simpletix.com.