When “The Marvelous Wonderettes” unfolds on the Bowlus Fine Arts Center stage this weekend, it will be a “Back to the Future” reprise for all who remember and enjoy pop tunes of the late 1950s and ’60s.
There’s never an idle moment as four local songbirds belt out one golden oldie after another, interspersed with predictable drama for girls of the time.
In the first act they are song leaders at Springfield High’s Super Senior Prom. In the second they’ve returned, a little older, maybe a little wiser and with personal concerns that are resolved through individual vocal sets for their 10-year reunion.
Pam Tressler, Kim Strickler and Liz Ulrich, veterans of the Iola Community Theatre productions, are joined by Sara Lott, Humboldt, appearing in her first ICT show. She has a rich voice, which reminds one of early country crooners, and is at home on stage.
As Cindy Lou, she has an on-again, off-again sisterhood with Betty Jean, played by Tressler, Yates Center. She is accused of being a “boyfriend stealer” in one breath but the two cuddle seconds later, joining little fingers in an overt sign of their friendship.
When the show moves ahead 10 years in the second act, the two get together a second time after Cindy Lou has returned home from a failed attempt to become an actress in Hollywood and Betty Jean laments her rocky marriage.
Meanwhile, Suzy, portrayed by Ulrich, is now nine months pregnant and still in love with the boy who ran the spotlight on prom night and again for the reunion. She fears her love isn’t returned in full measure.
Missy, played by Strickler, for five years has had a relationship with a former teacher and at the reunion puts him on the spot to advance the friendship with her rendition of “With this Ring.”
HARMONY in the show is as good as it gets. An added bonus is that each of the women, who fit remarkably well into their roles, has ample time with lead vocals.
Strickler, Tressler and Ulrich have demonstrated their expertise many times over and don’t disappoint this time around. Lott is a delightful and skilled addition.
Strickler and Tressler are bold and animated and leave no doubt that they are in charge when their roles call them to center stage. Ulrich is a little demur early on, but bursts out with wails and tears that put an exclamation point on scenes in the second act. Lott may be best described as cute in her acting forays, but that’s what is called for when she emotes.
The play will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets, $12 for adults and $8 for students, may be purchased at Sophisticated Rose, 19 S. Jefferson Ave.
Richard Spencer is the show’s director and Glenda Johnson is assistant director and stage manager. Reagan Webster did choreography and Strickler is music director. Many others, listed in the program, had a role in putting the show together.