BWW Review: THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES at Ridgefield Theater Barn
On Saturday, December 14, I had the pleasure of seeing THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES at the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield, CT. This comedic musical has the audience laughing from start to finish, while keeping everyone entertained with great oldies songs from the 1950s and 1960s. The excellent singing and acting brings all four characters to life, under the writing of Roger Bean, direction of Foster Evans Reese, and musical direction of Benjamin McCormack who leads the talented live band that is onstage, in the back of the stage.
The first act features four high school senior girls in a singing quartet known as The Marvelous Wonderettes, performing live at their high school prom, creating a show within the show. The talented cast maximizes the impact of brilliantly conceived stage business, choreography, facial expressions, and intense dynamics between each other to bring humor to their group performances of "Mr. Sandman," "Lollipop," and "Sugartime," captivating the audience right from the start.
The second act is set in 1968, with the Marvelous Wonderettes reunited and performing at their ten year high school reunion, opening with "Heatwave." The humor remains strong throughout the second act, but is also coupled with some seriousness.
Lauren Nicole Sherwood impresses the audience with her portrayal of Suzy who is a ditzy Wonderette who nevertheless tries to keep peace between the other Wonderettes.
Rena Gavigan shines in the role of Missy, a Wonderette who has a crush on her teacher, Mr. Bill Lee. This leads to performances of songs that Missy dedicates to him, with "Mr. Lee," "Born Too Late," and "Wedding Bell Blues" showing the path of her feelings towards him.
Tarah Margaret Vega animates the character of Betty Jean, a Wonderette who is willing to go to any extreme to convey her emotions and make her presence known. Tarah Vega's willingness to go all out on her stage business gives Betty Jean a flair that makes her entertaining to watch at all times. It is clear that Tarah Margaret Vega greatly enjoys her role, bringing positive energy to each moment.
Sarah Giggar is brilliant in the role of Cindy Lou, the Wonderette who tries to upstage Betty Jean, by taking lead on one of her songs, and by having stolen the interest of Betty Jean's boyfriend, something that ultimately leads to a hilarious rapid hand slapping fight between Betty Jean and Cindy Lou. Beyond the humor of her interactions, however, Cindy Lou is a much deeper character. The stand out musical number in the show is the Shangri Las' "Leader of the Pack," with Cindy Lou's serious lead singing juxtaposed with the comedic backup singing and accompanying antics of the other three Wonderettes.
I highly recommend THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES, which is scheduled to continue to run at the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield, CT, through December 28, 2019. For times and tickets, please go to Tickets