WINTER WONDERETTES Opens Today 11/30 at The Larry Keeton Theatre

WINTER WONDERETTES Opens Today 11/30 at The Larry Keeton Theatre
The Winter Wonderettes (left to right) are
Crystal Kurek, Tiffany Day, Tyler Samuel and
Elizabeth Sisler.
-photo by Jenny Petit

Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Suzy and Missy - known collectively as The Marvelous Wonderettes - join forces once more some 10 years after their first appearance as a singing girl group at 1958's Springfield High School Prom to help usher in the Christmas season at Harper's Hardware Shop in the spirited and sparkling holiday season musical revue Winter Wonderettes, playing The Larry Keeton Theatre in Donelson November 30-December 17.

Elizabeth Sisler, Crystal Kurek, Tiffany Day and Tyler Samuel star in the light-hearted musical romp that is a sequel to Roger Bean's off-Broadway hit The Marvelous Wonderettes. Dressed up and ready to welcome the holiday season, the four Wonderettes provide the entertainment for the party for Harper Hardware's employees, their families and friends, in the seasonal follow-up to the original show.

The seasonal celebration finds the four women providing entertainment for the Harper's Hardware event, but when Santa tukrns up missing, they must use their talents and creative ingenuity to save the party! Winter Wonderettes features 1960s versions of such holiday classics as "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Run, Run Rudolph," "Santa Baby" and "Winter Wonderland." Audiences of all ages will fall in love with the marvelous Winter Wonderettes.

Directed by Jeffrey Ellis (South Pacific, M. Fair Lady, Cabaret, Daddy's Dyin'...Who's Got the Will? and The Miss Firecracker Contest), Winter Wonderettes features musical direction by Noah Rice (Big River, Mary Poppins) and choreography by Taylor Tracey (Annie Get Your Gun). Both Rice and Tracey were among the stars of The Keeton's production of Cabaret in 2016. Austin Jeffrey Smith, a Keeton Theatre veteran both on- and offstage (starring in Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Music Man, Cabaret, M. Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Big River and South Pacific and stage managing Daddy's Dyin'...) is production stage manager for Winter Wonderettes. Scenic design is by Jim Manning, lighting design by Stella London (a 2018 First Night Most Promising Actor), sound design by Allan Stokes and properties design by Suzanne Spooner-Faulk.

Jamie Robbins London, artistic director of Senior Center for the Arts at FiftyForward Donelson Station, is producer of Winter Wonderettes. She will take the helm of the first show of 2018 at The Larry Keeton Theatre, a special concert version of the iconic West Side Story, which will feature local and regional actors performing alongside students from Tennessee School for the Blind and McGavock High School in what promises to be one of the most anticipated theatrical events of the season. In 2017, London teamed with resident musical director Noah Rice to co-direct Mary Poppins.

Ellis promises an "immersive theater experience" for audiences attending Winter Wonderettes. Set in 1968, audience members play an integral role in the two-hour show (which will include one 15-minute intermission). Assisting in the "immersive" aspects of the show - some audience members will be asked to go onstage to participate in show segments - will be Karissa Wheeler, A.J. Harris, Sara Kistner and Emily Daigneault. Wheeler was a 2015 First Night Most Promising Actor and most recently was seen onstage in Towne Centre Theatre's All Shook Up. She is currently a student at University of the South in Sewanee. Harris, a student at Tennessee State University, was in South Pacific at The Keeton, while Kistner last appeared onstage in M. Fair Lady. Daigneault, a recent graduate of Elmira College in New York, makes her Keeton Theatre debut in Winter Wonderettes.

Both Sisler and Day are returning to the Donelson stage after having most recently appeared in The Keeton's acclaimed production of South Pacific, also directed by Ellis. Kurek, a longtime favorite of Keeton Theatre audiences, most recently played the role of Eliza Doolittle in the Hendersonville Performing Arts Company production of Lerner and Loewe's M. Fair Lady. Samuels, who played Miss Dorothy in The Keeton's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, is currently onstage in Circle Players' The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

"My four cast members for Winter Wonderettes are amazingly talented women," Ellis says. "And I couldn't be happier that they have all agreed to be part of this holiday season offering. Rehearsals have been so much fun that I've wondered if maybe we should sell tickets to our preparations for the official run!"

Tickets for Winter Wonderettes are available by calling the box office at (615) 883-8375 or online at Group rates for parties of 15 or more are also available. Dinner seating begins at 5:45 p.m. with curtain at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and seating at 12:45 p.m. for luncheon with curtain at 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees.

This production of Winter Wonderettes is made possible through generous grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Metro Arts Commission of Nashville, FiftyForward, presenting sponsor, McKendree Village, and through licensing agreements with Steele Spring Stage Rights.

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