Ladies! Remember high school, that awful time where we all had acne, bad hair, and inappropriate crushes that somehow the whole school knew about? Yeah. It wasn’t a good look. But then Senior Prom rolled along, and we all glammed up…and it all didn’t seem so bad. Such is the case in The Marvelous Wonderettes, currently playing at the Ridgefield Theatre Barn. The twist? The Wonderettes get an extra perk: These perky girls get to be the entertainment.
The Marvelous Wonderettes opens in 1958, at the Springfield High School Senior Prom. Cindy Lou (Sarah Giggar), Betty Jean (Tarah Margaret Vega), Missy (Rena Gavigan) and Suzy (Lauren Nicole Sherwood). Through a great collection of 50’s chart toppers, the girls share their teenaged dreams and crushes and even have a few catfights in the process.
Act Two opens up, ten years later, at their high school reunion, where the Wonderettes have been asked to reunite to provide the entertainment. All of the crushes/boyfriends of the girls are in some way still in their lives, and many of the issues the girls had – either in life or with each other – have not been resolved and come to light.
What is most impressive about this production is that the actresses, all of whom are not the ages of the characters, all easily slip into believable teenagers for Act One and then become believable late twenty-somethings for Act Two. Giggar and Vega in particular, with their specific story lines, embody the catty teenage girl pair that we all knew in high school. Gavigan gives a nuanced performance as the seemingly quiet Missy, and Sherwood is delightful as the exuberant Suzy. All four ladies sing their way through their teenaged angst (And then late twenties uncertainty) with songs of the era, using songs from Connie Francis, Bobby Darin, and Patti Page, to name a few.
The Theater Barn’s cabaret seating lends itself very well to this production; the ladies come down into the house and interact with the audience as we essentially become the chaperones and the prom goers. I personally am not a fan of audience interaction, but this production handles it with care and humor and enhances the production as opposed to cheapening it, which I oftentimes feel such a blocking decision does.
This production is light, cute, and fun and if you’re looking for a night to disappear into a carefree world, I would plan a trip to Ridgefield. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get picked for Prom Queen!
THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES
A MUSICAL BY ROGER BEAN
DIRECTED BY FOSTER EVANS REESE
MATINEE SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2019 AT 2:00PM
Cabaret Seating ~ Bring Food & Drink
Doors open one hour prior to curtain