It's sugar at the matinee, sugar in the lounge, sugar at dinnertime this week when Stars Theatre Restaurant takes a musical look back at the 1950s and '60s with "The Marvelous Wonderettes." All they have to do is dream but you'll need to buy a ticket to see this show following four teen girls at their senior prom.
The off-Broadway hit begins at the 1958 Springfield High School prom where the titular girl group — Betty Jean (Caitlin Wolfenstein), Cindy Lou (Amelia Mejia), Missy (Gianna De Keles) and Suzy (Julie Verrell) — takes the stage to perform for prom-goers/audience.
"We take the audience back to 1958," said director Marnie Forzetting. "It's their prom. Bob Anderson is the voiceover as the principal. ... It delves into their loves, their hopes and their dreams."
Forzetting, who also choreographed the show with Brent Rochon, said this show felt tailor-made for her.
"It’s right up my alley," she said. "I did 'Shout!' I did 'Beehive,'" she said of the '60s jukebox musicals.
The music in "Wonderettes" — including such hits as "Mr. Sandman," "Sugartime," "Stupid Cupid" and "Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight" — was a big draw as well as the small cast.
Not that things were simple for the four leads who are on stage for the majority of both acts, singing more than two dozen songs.
"I say to people, 'It’s like a female 'Forever Plaid,' Forzetting said referring to the music-packed show about the quartet who returns to earth for one final show.
"With four-part harmonies and 26 songs, the girls had to work really hard on the vocals," she said, crediting vocal director Char Gaines.
The show focuses equally on all four characters, who each enjoy moments in the spotlight — sometimes literally thanks to Suzy's boyfriend, Ritchie, who runs the lights for the prom and the 10-year reunion in act 2.
"Every part is a lead. They’re ranked the same."
For the look, each girl has her signature color (Missy in tangerine, Suzy in blue, Cindy Lou in pink and Betty Jean in green) and hairstyles that reflect the two eras. Bethany Rowlee, a Stars regular and wig wizard behind the scenes, designed the 'dos.
Forzetting said, "Bethany, is there anything she can’t do?"
Recognizable songs, some comedy and dancing and a bit of audience participation (paging Mr. Lee and Miss McPhereson) sounds like the makings of a good time for theater.
"They sell it by saying it's a 'cotton-candy-colored, nonstop musical.' ... It's a kickback and fun show."