Capsule Stage Reviews: The Marvelous Wonderettes

The Marvelous Wonderettes Okay, kids, let's write a second-rate musical that has no chance of ever seeing the lights of Broadway. Judging from Roger Bean's creation from 1999, it's not too difficult. First we need music — not original music, that's too iffy. How about great tunes from the '50s? Every-body likes "Mr. Sandman," "Lipstick on Your Collar" and "Secret Love". Then we need to put these oldies-but-goodies in context with a story, but not much of one. A prom, we'll set it at a prom, where a girl group can sing the songs. And these four? One's a slut, one's a butch, one's a nerd, one's a dope. The butch and the slut have the same boyfriend and hate each other. The nerd's in love with her music teacher, and the dopey blond loves a greaser. That's enough plot, except there's Act II. All right, we can do it. Remember, no thinking. Got it! Act II takes place ten years later at the high school reunion. How brilliant is that? (Well, it's expedient, anyway.) Keep it simple. The slut and the butch still hate each other, the nerd's about to marry her teacher and the dumb blond is pregnant with marital problems. Nothing else has changed. Quickly wrap up any loose ends in a song, with everybody best friends at the end. And there you have it: an instantly forgettable new musical fit for Sunday matinees. Stage all this with utmost professionalism in lighting, dance moves and over-the-top prom dresses (although, the'60s mod minis in Act II are extremely unflattering on all concerned). Finally, cast four likable singing actresses who can put this tripe over with ease (Rachael Logue, Chelsea McCurdy, Christina Stroup and Holland Vavra Peters). Voilà! It's a musical that will run through summer, delight the nostalgia buffs and break all box-office records. Aren't you proud? Through October 17. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Pkwy., 713-527-0220. — DLG


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