Alice in Bushwick: Enterprise XIV Reimagines the Wonderland Story

Adhere to that rabbit!

Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” protagonist, Alice, who is always in danger, is going to embark on yet another journey. This time, however, in order to view her, you’ll have to go through that infamous rabbit hole and board a L train headed for Brooklyn. Next stop, Bushwick’s Jefferson Street Station. After that, it’s just a short stroll to Theatre XIV on Troutman Street, where you can catch a production of Company XIV’s “Queen of Hearts,” which opens for previews on March 1. There, you can meet up with characters like the Mad Hatter, Tweedles Dum and Dee, and the Caterpillar. If you previously believed that Alice’s adventures were twisted, you haven’t seen anything yet.

For the uninitiated, Company XIV presents distinctive theatrical experiences that sit at the nexus of highbrow entertainment and high art, with a distinctive blend of cabaret, opera, ballet, burlesque, circus arts, and cheeky sensuality.

Go back to Wonderland

Austin McCormick, the founder and director of Company XIV, who also serves as the evening’s choreographer, adds, “I’m thrilled to put Company XIV’s unique stamp on Lewis Caroll’s beloved story.” “The Alice books are loved by so many performers and audience members, and I’ve envisioned our version as a whimsical, opulent, and naughty adventure.”

“Returning to Bushwick in 2024, ‘Queen of Hearts’ embarks on its second journey, following a highly successful debut in 2019. McCormick, expressing enthusiasm, promises an even more captivating rendition this time around, boasting additional surprises, original compositions, and tantalizing cocktails.

Featuring a dynamic ensemble of emerging talents, including LEXXE in the lead role of Alice, who also contributes original musical compositions, Company XIV’s production receives accolades from McCormick. He commends LEXXE’s multifaceted abilities as both a songwriter and performer, emphasizing her classical training and musical intuition as invaluable assets to the collaborative process. Anticipation mounts as audiences await the unveiling of her latest musical creations.”

A Magical Spinoff

Established in 2006, Company XIV swiftly garnered acclaim from both critics and enthusiasts alike. By 2017, after a decade of performances across Manhattan’s East and West Village, the troupe found a permanent home in Bushwick’s Troutman Street, transforming a former plastics factory into the enchanting Theatre XIV. This intimate 150-seat venue, reminiscent of old-time vaudeville and inspired by the Belle Epoque era of Paris, pays homage to the opulent court of Louis XIV.

In 2022, amidst a challenging landscape for the arts, Company XIV defied the odds by expanding its presence in Bushwick, converting a Depression-era junk shop on Wyckoff Avenue into a second space. This more intimate setting was custom-designed to host “Cocktail Magique,” the company’s longest-running production. Praised by The New York Times as “intoxicating,” “Cocktail Magique” transports audiences to the Prohibition era, blending specialty cirque acts with a dash of Coney Island sideshow flair. From juggling bottles to swallowing swords and throwing knives, the show dazzles with its spectacle while serving up an abundance of cocktails seemingly conjured out of thin air.

The Bushwick Arts Legacy

Both theaters of Company XIV are welcomed additions to a neighborhood undergoing a cultural revival reminiscent of New York City’s East Village arts scene heyday several decades ago. The area boasts impressive large-scale street art curated by The Bushwick Collective, while the nightlife hub House of Yes has redefined the city’s entertainment scene. Situated just two blocks from Company XIV’s theater is a newly constructed $2.2 million venue for The Bushwick Starr, an experimental performing arts incubator. The producers of Company XIV recognize the influence of these cultural pioneers in the neighborhood, acknowledging their debt to them. Bushwick truly emerges as a vibrant cultural hub.

“Queen of Hearts” and “Cocktail Magique” delight audiences with five performances each week, running from Thursday through Sunday. For tickets, directions, and further details, please visit the Company XIV website. Please note that these shows are exclusively for adults aged 21 and over, so it’s best to leave the kids at home.

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