Last night was opening night for The Marvelous Wonderettes at the Short North Stage’s Green Room in The Garden Theater. If you love music, you are in for a treat. The musical stars Jacquie Miller-Dunlop as Betty Jean, Maya Sayre as Suzy, Dionysia Williams as Cindy Lou and Jackie Comisar as Missy. Each lady is excellent during her solos and as an ensemble, they sing extraordinarily well together.
The Marvelous Wonderettes, written and created by Roger Bean, is directed by Matt Clemens. Clemens starred as Buddy in last fall’s Follies and The Marvelous Wonderettes is his directorial debut. It tells the story of four high school friends who have formed a musical group and are asked to perform for their senior prom in 1958. The songs they sing in the first act tell of their innocence – Lollipop (by Beverly Ross and Julius Dixon) is cute sung as an ensemble. Lipstick on Your Collar (by George Goehring and Edna Lewis) is led by Miller-Dunlop and tells of the trouble she has with her friend Williams stealing her boyfriend. It’s a nice lead in to Williams’ first feature, Lucky Lips (by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller) where lucky lips are all you need to keep the fellas around.
“It’s a fun, feel-good show, featuring two wonderful periods of music that people love,” said Clemens. “It’s toe-tapping and just makes you want to smile. It plays to all ages. And the girls are not just adorable—they are amazing vocalists singing complex four-part harmonies.”
The characters reflect not only the girls’ transitions from high school to adulthood, but also the social changes from the Fifties into the Sixties. Once they come back to sing at their 10 year high school reunion, the songs switch to tell more complex tales of their lives.
“In the ten years that have passed they have all lived life in a serious way,” said Clemens. “They are no longer little girls.”
Not only is the show filled with wonderful music, it also has lots of laughs. Cindy Lou steals one of Betty Jean’s songs, who tries her hardest to ruin Cindy Lou’s performance. The girls’ Songleader Leader, Mr. Lee is chosen from the audience and songs including Teacher’s Pet (by Joe Lubin) are used to serenade him. (Mr. Lee also gets a framed Polaroid keepsake to remember the show).
The Marvelous Wonderettes is being performed in The Green Room, a smaller, more intimate space adjacent to The Garden Theater’s lobby. Performances include February 17,18, 23, 24, 25, March 2 & 3 at 8 PM, February 18, 25 and March 3 at 2 pm, Feb 19, 26 and March 4 at 3 pm. The Green Room at the Garden Theater, 1187 N High Street. (614-725-4042.) Tickets $22. For tickets call 866-967-8167 or visit www.shortnorthstage.org.
Those who attend the show on Sunday, February 19, will receive a single-serve ice cream complimentary of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams during intermission. The show runs just over 2 hours with about a 20 minute intermission.