Blur frontman writes Alice In Wonderland musical

NEW YORK (AFP) - Blur frontman Damon Albarn has written the score for a musical version of Alice In Wonderland that re-imagines the classic tale of a girl's fantasy world in the Internet era.

The musical wonder.land will premiere at the Manchester International Festival in July before heading to London's National Theatre later in the year and Paris' Theatre du Chatelet in 2016.

The National Theatre, announcing wonder.land as it revealed its upcoming season, said the musical would offer a modern, high-tech twist to Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, in which young Alice falls into a rabbit hole and discovers a strange new universe.

In wonder.land, written by Moira Buffini, the girl Aly is bullied at school but goes online as Alice and finds self-confidence in a world of virtual reality and struggles to discern what is real.

"I'm fascinated by the idea of going down a rabbit hole, the otherworldliness and what that might mean," Albarn said in a statement.

"Alice aside, the Queen of Hearts, the Duchess, White Rabbit, Caterpillar were the most threatening characters of my childhood. I was genuinely very frightened of them as a kid," he said of the original characters.

He previously experimented with virtual reality by creating the band Gorillaz, whose members were imaginary even though the music was real.

Albarn, 46, became one of the most identifiable faces of Britpop as the frontman of Blur in the 1990s but has since experimented widely in format and has written two operas, Dr Dee and the Chinese-inspired Monkey: Journey To The West.

Stage productions can often be unforgiving to musicians used to strong album sales. Sting's Broadway musical, Last Ship, is closing on Saturday after just three months, even though the singer stepped in to try to revive sales.