By Fran Syverson
For a breezy summer musical that takes you down memory lane, join The Marvelous Wonderettes at the Sierra Madre Playhouse. It’s prom time at Springfield High in 1958, and four lovely young songstresses entertain their classmates with hit tunes of the day.
From “Lollipop, Lollipop” and “Mr. Sandman” to “Secret Love” and “Allegheny Moon,” the girls’ stories are told in the words of more than two dozen familiar melodies. The songs convey the young women’s hopes, dreams, and crushes. And their rivalries—after all, they are vying for the Prom Queen crown. Sometimes they get a bit over the top in their cat-fight antics, but it’s all in fun! Oh, and the audience gets to vote for their favorite for Prom Queen.
The Wonderettes look almost edible in their sherbet-hued dresses. Cindy Lou (Kelsey Boze) in pink, Suzy (Kelly Klopocinski) in blue, Betty Jean (Kate Ponzio) in green, and Missy (Afton Quast) in apricot ‘50s dresses with swishy flared skirts that show off well in the choreography.
Costume designer A. Jeffrey Schoenberg repeats the colors—but not the styles—in Act Two, when the gals return to Springfield High in 1968 for their ten-year reunion. Wigs designed by Jessica Mills reflect the modes of the era.
The Marvelous Wonderettes, glamorous as ever, have mellowed through a decade of life. We get quick peeks into their lives through the melodies, which now include more pensive stories of love—both lost and found.
The singers’ tiered stage is in the school gym, which glitters with students’ hand-made decorations. Jeff Cason is the scenic designer.
It’s fun to see actual long-ago high school prom photos of some of the Playhouse staff and devotees featured in Diane Siegel’s lobby display.
Robert Marra directs this buoyant play, and is also the choreographer. He teams with Musical Director Sean Paxton, as they did in the Sierra Madre Playhouse’s 2015 highly popular Always…Patsy Cline.
Estelle Campbell and Christian Lebano are the producers, with John Sparks as associate. Chloe Madriaga is stage manager; Lauren Dietzel, assistant.
Enjoy The Marvelous Wonderettes weekends through August 27. Curtain time is 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Matinees will also be offered at 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays August 12, 19, and 26.
For reservations or more information, phone (626) 355-4318, or visit the website, www.sierramadreplayhouse.org for online ticketing. Reservations for groups of 10 or more can be made at the same phone number. Admission is $35 general, $32 for seniors (65+), and $25 for youth to age 21.
The Playhouse is at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Eateries and free parking are nearby.