Skip the corsages and sweaty palms and step back in time to the excitement, drama and fun of the senior prom with tonight’s 7:30 p.m. Warehouse Living Art Center production of “The Marvelous Wonderettes.”
From pastel-colored crinoline skirts to the tissue paper covered backdrop, the performance takes audiences to the 1958 Springfield High School prom where they’re introduced to the musical entertainment for the evening, the Marvelous Wonderettes. Best friends and singing sensations Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy, played by the veteran cast of Angel Sims, Cristin Denbow, Emily Hines and Samantha Clayborn, share their hopes and dreams with such classic ’50s hits as “Mr. Sandman,” “Lollipop,” and “Dream Lover.”
“We thought it would be a really good way to start the year off with fun, music and excitement,” said theater Executive Director Sandra McClure Mahood of the 2013 season’s inaugural performance. While opening Valentine’s Day weekend wasn’t intentional, Mahood said Cupid was obviously at work. “It’s very apropos because much of the subject matter in the songs is about love.”
Thrilled to be the second choice for the night’s musical entertainment after the lead singer for the Crooning Crabcakes is caught smoking behind the girl’s locker room, the Wonderettes take their talent center stage in Act I by dedicating a song to their dream lovers. After Suzy sends her affection up to her main squeeze Ritchie who’s running the lights, Betty Jean learns it’s Cindy Lou’s “Lucky Lips” that are responsible for the tell-tale signs of her boyfriend cheating in “Lipstick on Your Collar,” and a shy Missy reveals her “Secret Love,” before the 1958 Queen of Your Dreams is crowned.
Sims and Denbow’s jealous antics combined with Clayborn’s gum-smacking, bubbly personality and the endearing nervousness Hines portrays as a love-sick teen, is the recipe for a sweet first act that will have audiences running back to their seats from intermission.
Youth is fleeting and in a blink of an eye the lights come up on Act II where the girls are performing at their 10 year reunion. Tension remains between former best friends forever Cindy Lou and Betty Jean while the passing years have taken their toll on Suzy and Ritchie’s relationship and left Missy wondering where she stands with her man. The quartet rallies to boost each other’s confidence with the newfound independence of the’60s in “You Don’t Own Me,” “Needle in a Haystack,” “It’s My Party,” while Clayborn drives the point home with a powerful rendition of “Respect.”
In addition to Friday’s performance, audiences can catch the charming foursome in action through this weekend as well as Feb. 21-23. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. each day with an additional matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Feb. 17, and a Tuesday night 7:30 p.m. show.
Keri Kirby Moore is a contributing writer to the Daily Sun. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
'The Marvelous Wonderettes'
*Where: Warehouse Living Arts Center, 119 W. 6th Ave.
*When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14-16, 2 p.m. Feb. 17, and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19, 21-23.
*Call (903) 872-5421 or visit www.warehouselivingartscenter.com for more information.