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"The Marvelous Wonderettes" Entertain at Westside Theatre/Upstairs

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Salon Ziba

200 West 57th Street
New York, NY
Open seven days a week
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The Marvelous Wonderettes
(Show Website)
Westside Theatre/Upstairs
407 West 43rd Street

Written by Roger Bean
Directed by Roger Bean

With: Farah Alvin, Beth Malone
Bets Malone, Victoria Matlock

Choreography: Janet Miller

Produced by:
David Elzer, Peter Schneider, Marvelous NYC, LLC

Set Design: Michael Carnahan
Costume Design: Bobby Pearce
Lighting Design: Jeremy Pivnick
Sound Design: Cricket S. Myers
Music Direction/Supervision: Brian William Baker
Casting: Jay Binder/Jack Bowdan
General Manager: Roy Gabay
Production Manager: Michael Casselli
Production Stage Manager: Andrew Neal
Publicity/Marketing: The Karpel Group

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 10, 2008

There is a brassy, buoyant, bubbly new hit at Westside Theatre/Upstairs, and it’s called The Marvelous Wonderettes. I arrived prepared for some breezy, adorable acting and memorable, melodic tunes. But, much more, I was truly enthralled with the contagious charm and camp of this four-actor-singer-comic ensemble. In fact, I can’t wait to see it again. Four female prom entertainers, The Marvelous Wonderettes, at Springfield High’s 1958 Prom, stand behind four iconic, tall microphones, and croon away, while chatting and competing for men and attention. Their personalities and emotions are quickly revealed, and we immediately bond with their desires and dreams. There’s an offstage boyfriend, an offstage teacher, and even a man onstage from the audience, who knew how to mug and dance. Warning: if you’re a man, don’t sit in the front row, if you have stage fright.

Act II brings the four crooners back to entertain the 1968 Reunion, with one pregnant belly, among three broken dreams. The shy, fourth friend, Farah Alvin, as Missy, has a fond desire, to marry her advisor/teacher, Mr. Lee. Beth Malone, as Betty Jean, is the rambunctious attention-grabber, with pranks and a harmonica, and endearing as can be. Victoria Matlock, as Cindy Lou, is the gal who always gets her man, even if it’s the same man who’s dating Cindy Lou. Bets Malone, as Suzy, has her heart-throb, Richie, in the tech booth for the Prom in Act I, but by Act II, Suzy’s married, pregnant, and oh, so unhappy. But, no gloom here. At every possible moment, the band strikes a chord and it’s a romp down Memory Lane: (1958) “All I Have to Do Is Dream”, “Lollipop”, “It’s My Party”, “Leader of the Pack”, “Mr. Sandman”, (1968) “Rescue Me”, “Secret Love”, “Stupid Cupid”, and “You Don’t Own Me”, to list a mere few.

The 1950’s-1960’s culture is so astoundingly retro, that the production is a breath of fresh air. The Marvelous Wonderettes, as the loose plot goes, were substituting for a male quartet, The Crooning Crabcakes, who were banned from the prom, when one Crabcake was caught smoking near the locker room. The 1958 outer stage and walls are decorated with “Go Chipmunks 1957-58”, Varsity Bowling averages, Locker Room signs, Cheerleading Awards, a punch bowl, crepe paper flowers, and a strobe light. The Wonderettes are dressed in short gowns and heels. By 1968 the punch is replaced with wine, and they are wearing mini-skirts, tall boots, more makeup, big hair, and jaded expressions. There are adorable props, like a bubble machine, and the music fills the theatre with pure pleasure, thanks to Michael Borth and his talented band. The audience gets to vote for Prom Queen toward the end of Act I, and the winner is “surprised”, as she takes the stage and sings her heart out. Everyone had fun at Springfield High’s Prom and Reunion. This show should enjoy a long run at Westside Theatre, Upstairs.

Victoria Matlock, Farah Alvin, Bets Malone, Beth Malone
in "The Marvelous Wonderettes"
Courtesy of Carol Rosegg

Beth Malone, Victoria Matlock, Bets Malone, Farah Alvin
in "The Marvelous Wonderettes"
Courtesy of Carol Rosegg

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at