Theater Review: ‘Wonderettes’ marvelous at Pines Dinner Theatre
“The Marvelous Wonderettes,” featuring pop hits of the 1950s and ‘60s, is rocking the stage at the Pines Dinner Theatre, Allentown, through Oct. 21.
A tribute not only to the songs of the era, but also to the high school song-leader squads that were organizing at the time, “Wonderettes” is by far one of the best of the jukebox genre of musicals seen at The Pines.
Created and written by Roger Bean, the popular show premiered off-Broadway in 2008, and ran for 18 months. The script is set on senior prom night at Springfield High School in 1958 when four female students are brought in as last-minute replacements to entertain their classmates. The girls, who call themselves The Marvelous Wonderettes, are best friends entertaining best friends and boyfriends.
As would be expected, each girl has her own personality and issues, and in between music numbers they reveal their insecurities, love interests and jealousies.
Betty Jean (Emily Brennan) is the class clown and tomboy who loses her boyfriend to Cindy Lou (Amber Blatt), who knows she is the prettiest girl at the high school.
Missy (Hannah Michael) is a Type A personality and overachiever infatuated with her music teacher. She is best friends with Suzy (Katelyn Lauria), a giggling, stereotypical ditzy blonde.
In addition to singing well together, the vivacious quartet has all the right moves from the rock ‘n’ roll decades, a tribute to the actresses, as well as the direction and choreography of Oliver Blatt.
During the Sept. 22 performance seen for this review, it was fascinating to watch the women perform a vast variety of required dance movements. One had to wonder not only how the cast members could remember exactly what to do next, but also how they were able to stay in perfect synchronization.
From the moment the stage lights go up, the players work hard to maintain the hectic pace and keep the audience engaged. Helping with the last task are some funny bits embedded in the script that the Wonderettes use to best advantage.
The brightly-colored, modish costumes by Stacey Yoder add to the visual enjoyment of the show. They feature crinoline petticoats and died-to-match high heels, staples in every feminine teenage wardrobe in the 1950s. An interesting feature was that each Wonderette wore her own specific color scheme: Betty Jean, green; Cindy Lou, pink; Missy, tangerine; and Suzy, blue.
“The Marvelous Wonderettes” began life as a one-act musical, but was expanded for its off- Broadway premiere to two acts. Just when you think that the girls are stuck at the prom with their petty teen squabbles and color-coded party dresses, the second act offers up a few surprises. Suffice it to say that it is 10 years later and hairdos and Suzy have gotten bigger.
Tickets: Pines Dinner Theatre box office, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown; pinesdinnertheatre.com; 610-433-2333