The first in a series of summer theatre events from Branch Out Productions.
Prom dresses, beehives and teenage drama meet the sounds of an era this week when Branch Out Productions bring to life the popular Roger Bean musical comedy, The Marvelous Wonderettes. Following the lives of four friends from their 1958 high school prom through to their ten-year reunion, The Marvelous Wonderettes celebrates the music, the birth of the baby-boomer and the unpredictable directions that guide our collective post-school lives through love, laughs and heartbreak.
“This is a fantastic little four woman show,” says Branch Out Productions’ artistic director Ben Harrison. “There’s Cindy Lou, The Queen Bee and self proclaimed prettiest-girl-in-school played by Kate Weaver-Bennett, who also serves as our music director. There’s Betty Jean, the tomboy, foible of the group played by community theatre newcomer Shelley Perry. Missy, played by Beldam Aiken is the type-A driver of the group and Suzy the airhead played by Fredericton favourite Kayla-Renee Ossachuk.”
Since its debut in 2001, The Marvelous Wonderettes has received numerous awards and nominations for musical direction and choreography, while highlighting some of the era’s most recognizable melodies and choruses.
“In the show, the girls have been asked to perform at prom after the original performers were caught smoking behind the gym,” said Harrison. “Everything seems great until typical teen drama takes over and threatens to break up their friendship. There’s tons of audience participation, familiar songs and beautiful costumes and sets.”
This is the community theatre group’s first production since staging Willy Wonka, The Musical this past February during Fredericton’s FROSTival celebrations and after months of rehearsal, the production is set to open June 4 at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.
“I am most excited about the music in this show, familiar songs sung in four part harmony by a very talented group of vocalists,” said Harrison. “Our music director is so talented and really knew how to get the most from our cast. I’m also excited because for the most part these girls are all in roles that are completely opposite their own personalities. We typically do large cast shows, so it is always nice when we can build a really united cast.”
This production is the first in a series of summer theatre projects by Branch Out Productions that includes 13, The Musical later in June and the Broadway Bound Summer Camp which will be happening in August. Visit Branch Out Productions for more information on their full summer plans.