March 5, 2024 CSA, Press Releases

Kontara Morphis’s UNDERLAND x Alice is a Theatrical Dance Journey Down the Rabbit Hole

(Pittsburgh, PA) March 5, 2024—This March, the New Hazlett Theater welcomes audiences to the premiere of UNDERLAND x Alice, choreographer Kontara Morphis’s dance theater work about self-realization, visibility, and discovery. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the production takes theatergoers on a reimagined journey seen through the eyes of a 1920s-era Black Bourgeoisie Alice.

“Kontara Morphis is an impressive and energetic artist. Her show is pushing the boundaries of what the CSA program and New Hazlett Theater are capable of. On that note, tickets are moving fast and I would recommend purchasing your tickets now if you would like to witness this exciting moment in this local emerging artist’s career,” says Creative Programs Manager Janus Young.

In UNDERLAND x Alice, the audience is introduced to a young Alice Freeman and her family, residents of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During a birthday celebration for Alice, outside chaos and destruction ensues, leading Alice into a fantastical Underland. In this strangely familiar world, family members reappear as characters from Carroll’s classic tale, revealing dark family secrets.

“This show embodies a lot of different things. It has a setting and a starting place, which is in the 1920s during the Tulsa Massacre in the Greenwood District. It’s a look at black wealth. But a lot of what happens in the show can be left up to your imagination and the things that go on in your personal journey.”  Morphis states.

Complimenting the intricacies of this woven tale will be projections, various genres of music and dance styles, and even some roller skating.  Through it all, Morphis is hopeful the audience will walk away with new perspectives and introspection.

I hope that people find themselves within some character or scenario.  I hope that it helps people to exhibit different emotions.  I want people to laugh. I want people to be sad.  I want people to really reflect on themselves.” Morphis says.

UNDERLAND x Alice is the fourth of five productions in the Theater’s 2023/2024 Community Supported Art (CSA) performance series. Now in its 11th season, the CSA allows emerging artists like Morphis to develop new work for the New Hazlett stage.

UNDERLAND x Alice has three showings only: Thursday, March 21st at 8 PM and Friday, March 22nd  at 10 AM & 8 PM. Individual tickets are available for purchase on the New Hazlett website. Tickets range from $20–$30.

The UNDERLAND x Alice production team includes Morphis (Director/Playwright), Zachariah Washington (Director), Rickia Davenport (Assistant Choreographer), Alyse Hogan (Stage Manager), Jennifer Wilson (Crew Chief), Broughton Ganaway (Lighting Designer), Tucker Topel (Set Designer), Claudia Brownlee (Costume Designer), Ramin Akhavijou (Composer), Schereéya (Dramaturg), Scott Andrew (Projections Manager), Martel Brown (Skate Instructor), Karla Payne (Acting Coach), Sakinah Shaahid-Lowman (Fight Instructor), Yusef Shelton (Rapper), and Anqwenique Kinsel (Singer).

The multi-talented cast features Ashley Ford (Alice), Martel Brown (Mad Hatter/Willie), Charles Jamal Lee (The Rabbit/Booker), Michia Carmack (Queen of Spades/Rose), and Arnita Thompson (The White Queen/Ida). Sharonda Whatley, Calina Womack, Tyra Galloway, Quinn Hoy, Marissa Lily and Jazmine Bailey are the ensemble dancers.


Kontara Morphis (she/her) is a choreographer creating thought-provoking, emotionally resonant, and visually stunning dance pieces. Kontara is Artistic Director of K-Theatre Dance Complex and lends her talents to many other area organizations. Kontara believes dance has the power to communicate complex ideas and emotions in a way that words cannot.

Content Disclosure: sounds and images suggesting sexual assault

UNDERLAND x Alice is presented as a part of the New Hazlett Theater’s 11th Season of CSA, brought to you in part by Fort Pitt Capital.

About Community Support Art (CSA)
Since 2013, the New Hazlett Theater’s CSA Performance Series has brought emerging and mid-career performing artists to the stage. We’re passionate about providing a space for Pittsburgh’s amazing pool of creative talent to develop, collaborate, grow, and flourish. From dance to music and original plays to experimental animation, our CSA pushes the boundaries of performance at every show. For more information, visit 


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