Marvelous Wonderettes creator Roger Bean has made a name for himself in transforming “marvelous” pop hits into hit Mainstage musicals.
“When I was growing up, my mother was always singing around the house—lots of ‘50s and ‘60s girl group stuff,” said Bean. “So the popular music from these eras is deep in my consciousness.”
As a young boy, Bean also wrote plays and melodramas with his mother for their church.
“We would rewrite the lyrics to well-known songs and present them as our own completely new work in a highly-illegal-but-who-would-sue-a-young-teenager-and-his-mother-because-we-didn’t-know-any-better-and-besides-it’s-for-our-church kind of way,” explained Bean. “So I blame and give credit to my mother for everything.”
Before putting pen to paper with The Marvelous Wonderettes, (originally called “The Fabulous Wonderettes”), Bean spent about six months just listening to the music. “After a while, the music that bubbles to the top becomes obvious,” Bean shared in an interview.
An Off-Broadway hit, The Marvelous Wonderettes enjoyed over 1,000 performances at the Westside and Kirk Theatres. The show also received the 2007 LA Ovation Award for Best Musical for its long-running Los Angeles production, and continues to be an audience favorite throughout the country.
In addition to The Marvelous Wonderettes, Bean also wrote and created the popular jukebox musicals Summer of Love, The Andrews Brothers, Route 66, Honky Tonk Laundry, and Why Do Fools Fall In Love? Additional musicals created by Bean include Don’t Touch That Dial!, That’s Amoré, and Beach Blanket Bash. His shows have had over 750 different productions throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad.
“I always think that each show is different and unique, but friends think there is a common tone, a spirit that is infused in each one,” shared Bean. “I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve in my shows, and I suppose that’s kind of the common denominator.”
When it comes to the question of what Roger Bean would like audiences to take away from his shows, his answer is simple: “pure joy.”
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.