Maria Russell
United States, Nevada, Las Vegas

About Maria Russell

One of the most popular, charming and imaginative tales ever told, “Alice In Wonderland” —originally published as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll in 1865—is a worldwide pop culture phenomenon.

Considering the clamoring for all things Alice, there could never be a better time for Las Vegas based pianist and arranger Maria Russell to release Wonderland Es ... read more



Cheshire Cat Blues - Single Download


The White Rabbit Dance (Single download)


Songbird Swing (Single download)


Simple Miracles MP3 Album (Download)


Simple Miracles CD (Physical)

About Maria Russell

One of the most popular, charming and imaginative tales ever told, “Alice In Wonderland” —originally published as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll in 1865—is a worldwide pop culture phenomenon.

Considering the clamoring for all things Alice, there could never be a better time for Las Vegas based pianist and arranger Maria Russell to release Wonderland Escapades: A Musical Dream—a beautifully conceived and crafted CD of songs composed by her mother Gloria V. Russell that were inspired by scenes, characters and set pieces from the well known children’s story.

Broken into three acts with several scenes and songs each, Wonderland Escapades features Maria’s arrangements and piano and keyboard performances, as well as guest vocals by Shelley Martinsen and Dan Frank, singers for the Vegas based Nevada Opera Theatre. Among the many musical endeavors around the city that Maria takes part in, she has been the featured pianist with this theatre for the past eight years.

“About five years ago, my mom and I started talking about these songs and thought they might make a very good family and children’s recording project,” says Maria. “We started reviving some of the songs and made them more upbeat and contemporary. While they were originally conceived for a ballet, we realized they would work even better as part of a musical theatre production. Because my degree was in piano performance, I knew I could create great arrangements and also finish some of the songs that hadn’t been completed. Our idea was to bring the project up to date, and because Shelley and Dan also do a lot of character acting and singing, I knew they would be perfect for the vocals.”

“We have ambitions now to turn Wonderland Escapades into a musical, and have written a script for it” she adds, “but mom’s first goal was to put the songs on a CD. To give them context, we wrote a bit of a storyline that listeners can follow in the liner notes. We break everything into acts, scenes and characters so everyone can follow along as they enjoy the music. We did the recording in a studio at UNLV and were so excited to hear the songs come to life after so many years. I grew up enjoying the original book ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and the original animated Disney film, and now fully appreciate why it is so timeless.”

One of the remarkable aspects of Wonderland Escapades is Maria’s brilliant and eclectic arrangements, which make each song stand alone as a unique entity representing a different character or setting in Wonderland. “Dream Child” (about when Alice begins falling asleep), “Wonderland Dream,” “Waltz of the Roses” and “Magic Ballet” are classically influenced, while “Wacky Hot Wheels” is an irresistibly funky instrumental synth and piano romp. The pianist weaves a percussive tango into “The Fan Tango” and gets frisky on the vocal tune “The White Rabbit Dance,” which captures the scene where the white rabbit runs across the field and into the rabbit hole. “Pup and Purr” sets the tone after Alice enters the enchanted forest and runs into a big pup chasing what turns out to be the Cheshire Cat (who introduces himself via the jazz and blues influenced “Cheshire Cat Blues”).

Other tracks include “The Dee Dum Dee Song” (which finds Alice running into two brothers fighting over a rattle), “The Jub Jub Jig” (which refers to the funny dance done by the dragonlike Jabberwocky), “Teattle Tottle Dance” (after the Mad Hatter invites Alice to his tea party) and “Wondrous Parade,” which functions on the CD (and, one day, will on stage) as the curtain call.

Wonderland Escapades is available for purchase on link and as a digital download on iTunes.

When Gloria began composing these songs during Maria’s childhood, she could scarcely have imagined the accomplished musical force her daughter would one day become. A professional pianist since the age of eleven, Maria received the Devos Music Scholarship from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas—where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Performance and a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Computer Science.

Maria’s musical background includes performances at various Las Vegas casino/hotels and restaurants, including the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and most recently the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas. Serving as the musical director and keyboardist for the City of Las Vegas Melodramas in the Park, she arranged scores to fit the action and drama of the plays.

As pianist for the Nevada Opera Theatre for the last eight years, she has performed on piano and keyboards with the orchestra for the production of “Gigi” and many others. Maria has also produced five previous CDs and currently plays at two Las Vegas churches (The Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer and Holy Family Church) and the Ritz Carlton, Lake Las Vegas. Tate Music Group is in the process of producing the second edition of her Soaring With Angels CD, due in mid-2010. She is also a freelance graphic artist and website designer.

“I really loved all aspects of the experience of arranging and recording Wonderland Escapades,” she says. “It was fun talking with mom about what she originally envisioned for these songs and trying to figure out ways to make them true to that intent while also becoming part of a viable commercial project. It’s exciting to take this project to the next level and now we’re all geared up to put the pieces together to make it a full-fledged musical.”

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Hello All. Thank you to all the fans for your messages and comments. It has really meant a lot to hear from you. I hope everyone is enjoying some summertime fun. I have uploaded "The Dee Dum Dee Song" from Wonderland Escapades and "Miracle of the Spring" from Simple Miracles. "The Dee Dum Dee Song" is sung by Alice along with the Tweedle brothers. It is a sing-a-long song meant to cheer up Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. I think we could all use some cheering up at times. Wishing everyone a great summer. Enjoy!

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Maria Russell
4 months ago

Hello All. Spring is just around the corner. Warmer weather is on the way. Trees and flowers will be starting to bloom. And yes, the Easter bunny will be here soon.

As we prepare for spring and new beginnings, I have uploaded "The White Rabbit Dance" from Wonderland Escapades and "Sing to Me Spring" from Simple Miracles. I hope you will enjoy.

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Maria Russell
7 months ago

I have some exciting news.

Since we have not been able to put on any shows or concerts this year due to the pandemic, I have decided to create a YouTube channel.

I invite everyone to subscribe to my channel and enjoy our preview of our Anti-Bully musical, "Wonderland Escapades",
that we put on last November. It is uploaded in 3 parts so that you can watch a part at a time or see the production in its entirety.
Included in the show are 5 brand new songs that are not even on the Wonderland CD.


Hope you will enjoy and wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy New Year ahead.

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Maria Russell
9 months ago

This is the month of Halloween and I hope everyone will have a safe and fun one in these unique times.
Enjoy the Cheshire Cat Blues from "Wonderland Escapades"!

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Happy Summer. These have been very challenging times for everyone. I hope you are all staying safe and well. I have uploaded our song "Hot Wheels" in the hope that it will bring some joy and thoughts of roller blading along the boulevard or along the beach coastline. A little vacation through music! Enjoy.

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