Meet Cindy Lou, Suzy, Missy and Betty Jean. Together, theyre the Marvelous Wonderettes, four of the cutest coeds to ever attend Springfield High School. And theyre about to make your night.
A jukebox musical in the vein of Jersey Boys and Smokey Joes Café, The Marvelous Wonderettes features some of the hottest hits from the 1950s and 60s, including Lollipop, Dream Lover and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me.
The production, which runs Friday through Sept. 23 at the San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, marks the start of its 66th season, which Managing Artistic Director Kevin Harris promises will be packed with crowd pleasers.
Were trying to broaden our audience as much as possible, he said.
Blast from the past
Written by Roger Bean and arranged by Brian William Baker, The Marvelous Wonderettes transports audiences to a simpler time, when doo-wop dominated the jukebox, Ricky Nelson ruled the tube, and kids congregated at malt shops and sock hops.
The year is 1958 the occasion, Springfield High Schools senior prom.
After the nights planned entertainment gets caught smoking cigarettes, best friends and fellow prom queen nominees Cindy Lou Huffington (Michelle Hansen), Suzy Simpson (Caitlin Fuller), Missy Miller (Danielle Mendoza) and Betty Jean Reynolds (Elizabeth Premer) are asked to sing.
All four girls identified by their signature colors are members of the Variety Song Leaders squad. Theyre also typical teenage girls coping with all the issues of that precocious age, including love, friendship, betrayal and heartbreak.
When the girls reunite in the second act, set at Springfields 10-year reunion in 1968, all those old emotions come bubbling to the surface once more.
Luckily, the Wonderettes know they can always work through their problems in song.
Whenever theyre the Won-
derettes, the real world gets shut out, Harris explained. This girl group really protects them from a lot of stuff.
According to director-choreographer Jake Liam McGuire, The Marvelous Wonderettes features a straightforward storyline, plenty of audience participation and fabulously fun song-and-dance numbers performed by fourmake that five talented singers.
They all have amazing voices, and great acting chops too, McGuire said of his all-female cast.
Although Fuller and Mendoza are new to the San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, Hansen previously appeared in shows such as This Is Rock N Roll! The Alan Freed Story, Swingin With Sinatra and Oklahoma!
Premer is a Little Theatre veteran too, having appeared in You Cant Take It With You, Shimmy Shake Shine, The Fantasticks and other productions. (Company newcomer Jessica Quandt serves as her understudy.)
Keith Wetzel designed the casts colorful costumes. The rest of the Marvelous Wonderettes crew includes stage manager/ lighting operator Pam Hester, scenic designer Dave Linfield and lighting designer John Battalino.
The soundtrack, meanwhile, ranges from undisputed classics such as Mr. Sandman, Its My Party and Leader of the Pack to lesser known numbers like Allegheny Moon, Born Too Late and Lucky Lips.
Out of the 30 songs in the show, McGuire said, Twenty of them are still on the radio today.
Ninety percent of the people who come to the show that have a favorite song from this time period will hear their favorite song, said the director, who owns The Spot in Arroyo Grande. (Hes also currently working with the Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville in Oceano.)
McGuire is particularly fond of a Motown medley that mixes Rescue Me and R. E.S.P.E.C. T.
That Aretha Franklin sound is what I love the most, he said. This is one of my favorite eras of music and American history.
More to come
According to Harris, The Marvelous Wonderettes has just the kind of widespread appeal hes looking for this season.
The San Luis Obispo Little Theatres new season continues this year with the election-season drama The Best Man, running Oct. 12 through Nov. 4, and the heartwarming holiday classic Its a Wonderful Life, Nov. 30 through Dec. 23. Then, in 2013, comes the 1970s musical Watergate and Other Solid Gold Hits!, the overseas romance Enchanted April and the family- friendly musical The Sound of Music.
This year we really wanted to expand our base and show that live theater is still valued in this community, Harris said, noting that the company is still offering the Ubus Other Shoe staged reading series and No Shame Theatre program. This is going to be a great season.
Reach Sarah Linn at 781-7907.