By Jenna Tonsor
Kicking off the Summer Mainstage Season is the Off-Broadway hit, The Marvelous Wonderettes, by Roger Bean.
It’s 1958 at the Springfield High School Senior Prom. When the big event unexpectedly loses its musical act, it’s up to four friends to take to the stage, and help make prom a night to remember in four-part harmony.
In this 90-minute jukebox musical, you’ll meet the aptly named “Marvelous Wonderettes.”
There’s sassy Cindy Lou played by Sarah Ledtke McCann. She radiates confidence, is a shoe-in for prom queen, and will snap at her best friend, Betty Jean, just as soon as she’d snap her bubble gum.
Betty Jean, Cindy Lou’s “best friend,” might not be as conventionally pretty, but she’s a whole lot of fun, and is played to great comedic effect by Meredith Jones. But will she be able to turn a laugh out of the lipstick on her boyfriend’s collar?
Ann Flanigan plays Missy, the head of the prom committee, and if this prom doesn’t go perfectly, she’ll just die. She’s mature for her age, and, rumor has it, she likes her men the same way.
Last, but definitely not least, is sweet Suzy, played by Chelsea Turbin. She didn’t score a 1600 on her SAT exam, but with a heart as big as hers, no one’s worried about Suzy finding her happily ever after—after graduation.
But not everything is poodle skirts and milkshakes. We soon learn that life after graduation doesn’t quite resemble the fairy tale each Wonderette had expected. Ten years of hard-knocks, heartbreaks, and ditched dreams find the girls back home for their high school reunion. Will these four friends get the band back together, or will bridges remain burned?
Following his success directing A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Hand to God earlier this year, Director Jason Cannon brings all the high school drama of The Marvelous Wonderettes to life.
“As I’m prepping for this production, I’m also being inundated with Facebook reminders about my own impending 25-year high school reunion!” shared Cannon.
For Cannon, the high school setting is an opportunity not just for reflection, but also for a whole lot of fun.
“People at 18-years-old have all sorts of plans, dreams, and aspirations. How those manifest is ALWAYS a surprise. That nostalgic, bittersweet poignancy is one of the things I most enjoy about theatre in general, and this show in particular,” he continued. “Ultimately though, this show enjoys such immense popularity because the music is just so infectious and fun!”
With classic hits from the ‘50s and ‘60s like “It’s My Party,” “Lollipop,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Mr. Sandman,” The Marvelous Wonderettes will transport you back to the good ol’ days with a little help from four girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts.
The Marvelous Wonderettes plays in FST’s Gompertz Theatre through June 22. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here or call 941-366-9000.