The Marvelous Wondrettes: A musical by Roger Bean
IT’S SO FLUFFY!!!
While I love an edgy show with lots of cussing, lots of violence, a little bit of naughtiness, and some deeply troubling issues to ponder during the drive home- the truth is that I also want to sit there with my son and keep an arm wrapped around him and listen to him laugh, gasp, and say “Wow!”. So when the opportunity came to watch a show that promised a bit of the family friendly entertainment that I was looking for, I jumped and packed the wife and kid in the car and took off for an evening at Paper Wing Theatre’s production of “The Marvelous Wondrettes”, the latest musical production to hit the central coast.
The story is pretty simple- four girls perform a number of popular standards at the High School Prom, interlacing stories that lead directly from one song to the next culminating in the crowning of a the Prom Queen before intermission. When we return, the girls return for their ten year reunion to perform once again, and once again interlace stories from their personal lives that lead directly from one song to the next. There’s audience participation as someone is inevitably dragged to the stage for a number of songs dedicated to their vocal instructor, “Mr. Lee”. (This happened to be me in the performance I saw. Woohoo!) Other audience members and the lighting booth are also referred to as a number of characters in the lives of the four ladies.
And who are these four ladies? The ring-leader and goodie-two-shoes type, Missy, is played by Kate Bradley Faber (who wears two hats as the shows Director). Faber is hilariously awkward in glasses, a too bright smile, and a perpetual goody-two-shoes cheerfulness that unites the other three ladies in spirit and more. Cindy Lou (Jacqui Hope) is the saucy one- laying some beautiful vocals and “make me a star” posing that borders the antagonistic in the first half of the show but reveals a touching level of warmth in the second. Suzy is the blonde ditzy one whose bubble gum chewing and slightly off step clumsiness offers Alyca Tanner’s comedic prowess to shine. And, finally, Laura Hodge rounds out the group as Betty Jean, also called (with a tongue very firmly planted in the cheek) “BJ”. She’s Cindy’s best friend, rival, and foil through much of the production. Her antics to antagonize of undermine the other girl are hilarious! We also get some additional voice-over work from stage manager, Cheryl Karoly, and lighting technician, Ralph Cardoza.
I don’t want to get too much into the songs covered because some of them might bring back nostalgic memories for quite a few and should be experienced more than talked about. “Mr. Sandman” makes an appearance, “Lipstick On Your Collar” is found, and there’s definitely a “Heatwave” in the air. See what I did there? Gave you some titles while making it fit in with a certain degree of narrative description- that right there is talented writing, yo. The songs are all amazingly performed and the lucky souls who get pulled to the stage will get a particular thrill.
This show is pure fluff- no deep dark deceptions, no screams of horror, no titillating moments of an obscene nature, and no deep explorations into the darkness of the soul. It’s sweet, it’s innocent and it’s fun!
4.5 out of 5!