Missouri Street Theatre’s ‘The Marvelous Wonderettes’ features classic songs

By From page B1 | September 07, 2012

FAIRFIELD — Scott Woodard has played the lead in a string of Missouri Street Theatre musicals, including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Brigadoon” and “Avenue Q.” For the latest Missouri Street Theatre production — “The Marvelous Wonderettes” — he is the off-stage visionary instead of onstage vocalist.

“Although I have co-directed numerous times, this will be the first show I am directing myself and I am also the choreographer,” Woodard said. “I actually saw the show at Music Circus in Sacramento with the original cast and told (Missouri Street Theatre artistic director) Dae Spering afterward, ‘I want to do that show.’ She said to find the space for it and we did.”

“The Marvelous Wonderettes”

  • 8 p.m. Sept. 14-15, Sept. 21-22, Sept. 28-29
  • 2 p.m. Sept. 29
  • 6 p.m. Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30
  • Fairfield Center for Creative Arts, 1035 Texas St., Fairfield
  • www.missouristreettheatre.org
  • http://downtowntheatre.com

“The Marvelous Wonderettes” is an off-Broadway musical comedy that debuted in 2008. It basically tells the story of four high school girls who are members of a songleader squad. The show features numerous popular songs of the 1950s and 1960s, including “Dream Lover,” “It’s In His Kiss,” “Lollipop” and “It’s My Party.”

“The point of the show is to feature some of the greatest songs in history and they put a really cute plot behind it and other things to entertain you at the same time,” Woodard said. “Basically you kind of dive into these girls’ lives and they make you fall in love with them. The cast consists of a great group of women who are so talented. We have powerhouse singers.”

One of those powerhouses is Miranda Lawson, who plays the role of Betty Jean. Past Missouri Street Theatre productions in which she has appeared include “Legally Blonde,” “Avenue Q” and “Chess in Concert.” Lawson is impressed by her castmates, whom she described as “super-talented” and feels they are all rising to the challenges inherent in the show.

“There are about 30 songs, all fully choreographed and all of us are featured on each song. None of us really leave the stage except for intermission,” Lawson said. “We had to learn different parts and harmonies for them. So while we may go in knowing a certain song, we may not know the harmony or vocal lines we have to sing in them. It’s kind of like relearning songs we know and also learning the ones we don’t.”

For first-time solo director Woodard, the challenge of putting on a show as opposed to starring in one comes down to details.

“I like to go in the show knowing what I want the cast to do and sometimes coming into rehearsal and trying to get what ‘s in my brain go into their bodies is a really interesting challenge,” Woodard said. “When it doesn’t quite work at first and I have to adjust it.”

“The Marvelous Wonderettes” will be the first full-length production performed at the downtown theater since care of the Fairfield Center for Creative Arts changed hands from the city of Fairfield to the Downtown Theatre Foundation for the Arts.

It is also another first for Spering, who is both the artistic director for  Missouri Street Theatre and the Downtown Theatre group. This is the first show that Missouri Street Theatre has put on since 2009’s “Nunsense” that Spering has nothing to do with. She has supreme confidence in those running the show as well as in the show itself, however.

“I think what sells this show is the amazing music put in the context of a story line. Everyone knows that era — ‘Mr. Sandman,’ ‘Heatwave’ — it’s some of the best music written and most music today is kind of based off of that,” Spering said. “This show is fun, funny and family friendly from beginning to end.”

Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at [email protected]

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade

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