Dreaming On with the Wonderettes - theHumm November 2018

Dreaming On with the Wonderettes - theHumm November 2018

By C. Lee Bates

“I am womyn, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore…” Remember Helen Reddy’s ’70s anthem about the modern, liberated woman? Well, we’ve come a long way, baby. Now the rally cry is a simple “Me, too!”

From 17-year-olds singing Lollipop, Lollipop at their Senior Prom to mature women singing classics such as Sly and the Family Stone’s We are Family and Gloria Gaynor’s timeless I Will Survive at their 20-year high school reunion, The Marvelous Wonderettes (Dream On) continue to entertain us with their loveable antics and spectacular four-part harmonies. Plan to welcome back Betty Jean (Lindsay Rewi), Cindy Lou (Lauren Bailey), Missy (Justine Sousa) and Suzy (Cait Porteous) to Perth’s Studio Theatre when the girls return to the Springfield High School stage to entertain guests at their favourite teacher’s retirement party.

If you saw the indie women two production of The Marvelous Wonderettes last November when the girls provided the entertainment at their Prom (Act I) and their 10-year high school reunion (Act II), you won’t want to miss this update of their lives and music. If you were unlucky enough to have missed it, run — don’t walk — to Tickets Please so you don’t miss out on this wacky and wonderful sequel.

In The Marvelous Wonderettes, we met the quirky foursome in all their youthful glory and learned about the trials and tribulations of their love lives and oft-fraught relationships with each other. In this latest production, their beloved homeroom, Home-Ec and Languages teacher Miss McPherson is retiring (in Act I), but that’s not as easy as one might think! In Act II, our heroines are pushing forty, but they still have what it takes to sing and dance up a storm and to annoy the heck out of each other, while entirely endearing themselves to us, the audience.

Lindsay, Lauren, and Justine are all thrilled to be reprising their roles and there is no doubt that they totally “own” their characters. The multi-talented Courtney Mason, last year’s Suzy, was also keen to return for the sequel, but the birth of Courtney and Matt’s first child necessitated her taking a pass on the latest production. There are a couple of interesting ironies to our Wonderettes story; one being that the character of Suzy was pregnant in Act II of last year’s show, and so was Courtney, unbeknownst to the rest of the company. Secondly, just our fabulous luck that the multi-talented Cait Porteous, who was originally supposed to be one of the Wonderettes (but opted to plan and attend her own wedding instead — imagine!) was available to step into the current production. Talk about life imitating art!

A new addition to the Wonderettes team this year is no stranger to Studio Theatre musical productions. Emma Houlahan (who performed in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Little Women and choreographed The Drowsy Chaperone) has recently completed a degree in Classical Voice at York University. Emma agreed to be the show’s choreographer from Toronto via YouTube videos she created and then recorded in a studio. The performers have enthusiastically declared that her dance creations are super crazy-fun to perform.

Returning as show Stage Director and Artistic Director of indie women two productions, C.Lee Bates promises that this rendition of the Wonderettes saga is as entertaining as the original show — if not more so — and that the music is definitely more captivating. Brad Mills, back on the Musical Director’s piano stool, agrees and states categorically that the foursome is among the most accomplished vocally, both solo and in harmony, of any performers he has ever worked with. Elaine Scott, Marie Amyot and Loree Tannett are whipping up glorious costumes that will bring back fond memories of the ’60s and ’70s, while Sheila Jasiak will lend her talents to hair and make-up. Mark Tye, intrepid Sound Guy, reprises his voice-over role of Principal Varney, and Geoff Mason is lighting up the wondrous world of the Wonderettes. The diverse and divine Carolee Mason is the Stage Manager and another new addition, Donna Sproule, brings her creative talent to props.

Joan Frommer, Producing Director of indie women two productions, is also spearheading the fundraising for YAK. Joan is organizing a silent auction and the sale of artisan bags and mitts by textile artist Lin Dickson (Bags and Mitts from Bits), whose original creations from recycled materials have become a phenomenal hit in Perth and Ottawa, especially just prior to holiday gift-giving! Thousands of dollars have been raised for YAK and other worthy causes thanks to Lin’s generous donation of her time, talent and carefully-sourced materials. Patrons will also be able to contribute to Studio Theatre’s fundraising efforts to purchase a retractable screen for their fabulous monthly film series, by purchasing 50/50 tickets.

Jeff Kohl, Executive Producer of YAK, Perth and area’s one-of-kind youth centre, is ecstatic that indie women two has again selected the centre as the recipient of their fundraising efforts, praising the $6000 donation from last year’s production as a game-changer for YAK’s ability to provide services to deserving youth. “We are beyond grateful,” Kohl says simply and sincerely. Jeff’s been doing his part, too, gathering items for the silent auction. Members of the public are also most welcome to make donations and should contact Joan at jfrommer@roger.com .

The Marvelous Wonderettes (Dream On), co-produced by indie women two productions and Studio Theatre Productions, opens at the Studio Theatre on Thursday, November 15 for eight shows: November 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 and 24 at 7:30pm and November 18 and 25 at 2pm. Be sure to book your tickets in advance! Last year’s show all but sold out and you don’t want to be disappointed. Tickets are $27, exclusively at Tickets Please in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. (485-6434, ticketsplease.ca) which accepts in-store, phone, online and credit card purchases. Tickets are $27 at the Studio Theatre box office on show nights, subject to availability. Rush tickets for students with ID are just $10 at the door, subject to availability. Attend opening night and save $5!

Indulge yourself in an evening of non-stop nostalgia and the highest-quality musical theatre around. Enjoy the live five-piece band led by Brad Mills. If you saw and loved Sister Act in June, two of the Wonderettes shared the lead role in that production and can’t wait to strut their stuff for you again with their two best friends. Bonus: it’s non-stop fun and all for a good cause!


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