The production cost $1.05 million. Co-producer Mike Nichols had $126,000 of his own money in the show. Lewis Allen, another co-producer, had $21,000. Other backers included Sam Cohn of International Creative Management ($21,000) and the photographer Richard Avedon ($56,000). Alvin Nederlander Associates invested $21,000 and Westward Productions (a subsidiary of Universal-MCA) put up the rest of the capitalization ($525,000). Many of the investors had put up money for the original Broadway production of Annie.
Alice played to 20% capacity houses throughout its entire Philadelphia run, and much of the audience was made up of subscriptions. The top ticket prices were $12.50–13.50 and it had a potential gross of $193,309.
As with many out-of-town flops, the show closed because of poor box office which was counted on to get the production to New York.
The show lost $250,000 in its Philadelphia run.
The Philadelphia run was originally scheduled to run from May 31–July 15.
The production was to open on Broadway on July 27, 1978 at the Minskoff Theatre.
When the budget ran out, Mike Nichols and Lewis Allen tried to raise additional money. A local black organziation, the Freedom Theatre, even called a press conference urging black support for the production. Some felt that the show wasn't marketed enough toward black media. Lex Carlin, manager of the Forrest Theatre (where the show played), disputed that saying that more space was purchased in the black Tribune than any other local publication.
At the time, the $1,050,000 production cost made it one of the most expensive Broadway shows in history.
This was the first stage production that Mike Nichols either produced or directed that never made it to Broadway.
Mike Nichols and writer Vinnette Carroll fought bitterly during rehearsals. They were at odds as to what the concept of the show should be. Nichols was even barred from the theatre.
Alice Ghostley later said, "I never understood what the conception was and no one seemed able to clear it up. I was told I was to play the White Queen as a Rona Barrett type. But there was no book and I winced at my lines. Maybe another $500,000 could have saved us."