Full Synopsis

Full Synopsis

Act One

(“Wonderland Fanfare”) The lights come up in the Entrance Hall of Wonderland High School. Arthur, unsure and seemingly lost, reveals to the audience that he is a senior and that this is his first day at his new school. He is both nervous and excited to make the best of his new surroundings. As students rush through the hallway to get to their lockers and off to class, Arthur meets Harry Karnickel, the hall monitor, who is as nervous as a rabbit but manages to keep the other students on schedule. Harry guides Arthur through the school, introducing him to various members of the Student body (“Welcome to Wonderland”). Arthur is instantly smitten with Alice, the head of the Quadrille Team. The Quadrilles are popular cheerleaders who support the Wonderland Knights, the school’s croquet team that has remained weirdly undefeated since the school was built in 1976. Harry warns Arthur to stay away from Alice, since she is dating Paul, the Captain of the Knights. Arthur introduces himself to Alice, much to Harry’s chagrin. Alice is superficially friendly to Arthur until her seemingly “BFF,” Allison, whisks her away from the conversation. Much like most schools look forward to Homecoming, Wonderland High is getting ready for the Lobster Ball Victory Dance – in anticipation of the Knights continuing their streak and winning the State Cotillion Croquet Championship.

A confused Arthur begins a reprise of “Welcome to Wonderland,” but Harry interrupts, telling him, “No time for reprises!” and they exit to find Arthur’s homeroom.

Homeroom is the gym, where all of the Knights and Quadrilles meet for first period. Principal Cheshire, unseen but heard over the loudspeaker, encourages everyone to rise and sing the school song (“Ode of Wonderland”). Arthur assumes that the Jocks and Cheerleaders will have come up with funny alternate lyrics to the school song but is informed by the Tweedle Twins (Dee Dee and her dim-witted sister, Sandy), that they don’t make fun of the school song, because they believe that it has kept them champions year in and year out. When the song is over, Principal Cheshire calls Coach Barker to his office, leaving Arthur to fend for himself in a sea of unfamiliar, croquet-crazed students.  When Arthur tries again to talk to Alice, Paul and his teammates confront him, grabbing Arthur’s copy of Romeo & Juliet. As Arthur tries to talk to them, Alice interrupts, leading the others in explaining “We’re Not Weird” to Arthur. As the song ends, Paul threatens Arthur just as Coach Barker returns. The coach reminds Paul that if he is caught fighting again, he will be suspended and unable to play in the big croquet game. Paul backs down reluctantly.

The bell rings. In the hall, Arthur contemplates what just happened (“Did Shakespeare Ever Feel This Way?”).

In the Girl’s Bathroom, the Quadrille Team – Alice, Allison, Sandy, Dee Dee and Alicia – are talking about Arthur, Paul and boys in general. Allison realizes that Alice has actually taken notice of Arthur and chastises her for not being happy with the greatest guy in the school, Paul. The other girls pine for any guy – or even a part of one (“Girl Talk”)! Outside of the bathroom, the girls meet up with Paul and his two buddies, Preston and Parker, and during the short conversation, they figure out a way to divide Parker and Preston among Dee Dee, Sandy and Alicia, so that everyone has a date for the Lobster Ball. As the boys head off, the girls are excited that they all have dates for the dance (“Girl Talk – Reprise”).

In another part of the school, Arthur has found Harry, who introduces him to Katt, a no-nonsense student who runs the school store out of a seemingly limitless-capacity janitor’s closet while she doles out helpful and confusing advice in equal parts. Arthur also meets Marianne, a shy girl who has a crush on Harry, which seems to be mutual. The students explain that everything you might ever want or need can be obtained from Katt’s store... for a price (“Supply and Demand”). When Katt begins a reprise, Harry chides her and shoos everyone off.

Heading to class, Allison and the Quadrilles run into the all-girls a capella group, the Garden Glees: Rose, Lily, Violet and Daisy. After a dissing and dismissing, the Quadrilles leave the Garden Glees thoroughly humiliated. The little flowers bounce back quickly, though – they are excited, because principal Cheshire has agreed to allow them to sing at the upcoming Croquet Cotillion. The only catch is that they must sing the school song. Daisy shows them the beginning of an arrangement that she had begun working on earlier that morning (“Ode of Wonderland – Garden Glees #1”). With a mix of trepidation and excitement at the possibilities, the Garden Glees make plans to meet up again later in the day.

Arthur lands in English Class with Alice and her cronies. The new English teacher is a woman named Dr. Bloom. She starts the class by handing out a pop quiz on the “Wonderland” books. When Dr. Bloom is called away to Principal Cheshire’s office, Arthur is shocked to find that Alice is willing to create a “cheat sheet” to help her friends pass the quiz (“Cheating”). Upon her return, Dr. Bloom discovers the sheet and confronts Alice. Arthur steps forward and takes the blame. Before the class is dismissed, Dr. Bloom assigns a project that will require the students to work in pairs. She suggests that they start that afternoon but is informed by Allison and the others that the “Wonderland Code” actually requires that classes be suspended the afternoon before the Croquet Cotillion and Lobster Ball. The bell rings, and a confused Dr. Bloom dismisses the class, asking Arthur to stay behind for a moment. She questions whether or not he is taking the blame for something that Alice has done. When Arthur refuses to tell her, she advises him to be careful and then lets him leave.

In the hall, Alice finds Arthur and thanks him for “taking the heat” for her. She asks him to be her partner for the English project and writes her phone number on his hand. Harry finds Arthur and, seeing him with Alice, tells Arthur to meet him at lunch. Alice leaves Arthur feeling optimistic for the first time today (“Shakespeare Triumphant”), although unbeknownst to both of them, Allison has overheard their conversation and runs off to tell Paul.

The Garden Glees manage to squeeze in a little uninterrupted rehearsal time and they begin to feel better about their prospects (“Ode of Wonderland – Garden Glees #2”).

Lunch is a confusing affair managed by the pranksters of the Junior Class: Matt Adder, April May (who had her hair done in March) and Dora Mouskowitz, a young narcoleptic who can barely keep her eyes open. They rope an unwitting Arthur into their shenanigans that involves a convoluted game show called “Menu of the Day,” where students must compete for a seat and a chance to eat (“Cafetorium Party”).

Harry rescues Arthur, and they make their way to a table, where Katt and Marianne are sitting. Katt has just hired Marianne to work in the student store. Harry and Marianne can’t contain their joy at seeing one another and each ask advice of their mentors (“What Do You Say?”). The four friends discuss how odd the school is, and Arthur asks if any of them has ever heard of “The Wonderland Code.” Although all three of the others have heard of it, no one is quite sure what it is and they chock it up to legend. Arthur lets slip that Alice asked him to be her project partner. This makes Harry, who is always nervous, even more nervous. As the girls head off to the store, Alice enters the cafetorium with the Quadrilles and the Knights, describing the decorations for the Lobster Ball, which includes an arbor of white roses. Arthur stops her to talk, and Paul becomes jealous. Allison makes her move and spills the beans about Alice asking Arthur to be her project partner. When Paul sees Alice’s number written on Arthur’s hand, he sees red and punches Arthur in the nose.  Harry cries out that Paul won’t be able to play in the big game, and Parker and Preston rush in to threaten Harry, who faints. Paul warns them not to say anything, as Allison leads him and the others off. Alice stays behind for a moment, and Arthur asks her not to leave. Torn between her desire to stay with Arthur and the expectations of her classmates, Alice decides that it is better to keep things as they are and follow the rules of her peers (“In Wonderland”). Arthur feels like the entire student body is against him as Alice exits after the others, leaving Arthur and Harry alone.

Act Two

Act Two opens with Harry and Arthur commiserating about how much they don’t understand, but how much they, nonetheless, like (“Girls”).

In the gym, Allison and the gang come up with a plan to protect Paul... and a way to blame all of the trouble on Arthur. Alice says that she doesn’t think that’s fair, and Allison turns on her, showing her true colors at last. She kicks Alice off the Quadrille Team on trumped-up charges and inserts herself as the new leader. The other girls back her up as she verbally attacks Alice (“Hate Me”).

Alice runs from the others and finds a certain confusing solace in advice from Katt (“Who Are You?”). Alice reconnects with Marianne, who had been a childhood friend of hers, and the two make plans to meet after school. Alice takes Katt’s advice and decides to go find Arthur and Dr. Bloom.  On her way, she bumps into the Garden Glees and offers them the encouragement that they need to see their dream fulfilled (“Ode of Wonderland – Garden Glees Final”).

In Dr. Bloom’s office, Arthur is getting some life advice from Dr. Bloom while she nurses his swollen nose. Alice enters and confesses to Dr. Bloom that it was she who cheated on the quiz earlier in the day. She asks Arthur to be her project partner, and Arthur accepts. He also confesses that Dr. Bloom is his mother. Dr. Bloom exits, and the two are left alone to contemplate the possibility of becoming more than just friends (“Maybe It Could Be”).

In the cafetorium, Allison is overseeing the decorations for the Lobster Ball. Paul and Preston are busy painting the white roses on the arbor red.  Sandy and Dee Dee are making signs and hanging garlands. Paul enters to get the guys off to practice, but Allison throws a tantrum and makes him help with the decorating. When Coach Barker appears, wondering why the boys are busy playing “craft fair” when they should be practicing, Allison blames Paul for his tardiness. The Tweedle Twins rise up in revolt and leave, banished by Allison for their perceived insubordination. Allison asks Alicia, her stalwart second, to stuff the ballot box with pre-printed ballots to elect Paul and Allison Lobster King and Queen. When Alicia hesitates, Allison alienates her, too. Left alone, Allison begins stuffing the ballot box.

Arthur walks Alice to the Student Store, where Marianne, Katt and Harry have discovered a hidden room with artifacts from around the time that the school was built. They open a “time capsule” from 1976 and find, among other things, a 1976 yearbook, a gold dog whistle and an old mimeograph that is the original version of the school song, “Ode of Wonderland.” Arthur notices that there is a discrepancy between the original typed version and the cut stencil – the stencil is missing a letter “c” that didn’t work well on the original typewriter. It’s not the “Ode” of Wonderland, but the “Code” of Wonderland! They review the words and find a hidden meaning in the lyric:


Replacing “ODE” in the first line with “CODE,” they decide that maybe the golden dog whistle is the “golden horn” and after some initial hesitation, decide that Arthur should blow it. He does.

Nothing happens. Stan shows up, and they tell him what’s going on. Arthur blows the whistle again, and a few more students stop by to see what is happening. Soon, most of the student body is there, and our friends realize that the students are “the heart of Wonderland,” called there in time of need by the whistle. With Alice’s encouragement, Arthur talks to the throng, inspiring them to use their minds, make their own decisions, voice their opinions and – most importantly – vote for whomever they really want for Lobster King and Queen (“The Heart of Wonderland”).

After the first defeat in the history of the school, students still show up for the Lobster Ball “Victory Dance.” The Tweedle Twins, Alicia, Preston and Parker all share their thoughts about Allison, how she caused so much distraction that Paul couldn’t concentrate on anything. Allison and Paul show up, and an unbowed Allison tells Paul that at least she can still look forward to being crowned Lobster Queen.  Our friends gather and wonder how Allison will react if her version of events doesn’t play out. Sure enough, in a stunning upset, Harry and Marianne are crowned Lobster King and Queen. The old code has been broken, and this is the beginning of new day in Wonderland, where all are welcome and their uniqueness is celebrated. Harry takes the stage and moves to the dance floor, where he invites Marianne and everyone else to “Come Join the Dance.”