The New 60's Holiday Musical!
a kate west review
written & directed by Roger Bean
at El Portal Forum Theatre
5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood 91601
running Wed-Sun; EXTENDED through January 5th!
Good news, or rather marvelous news: The Marvelous Wonderettes, the charming quartet of 1950's and 60's singing girlfriends, are back for a sequel. And just in time to spread some holiday cheer. This time the girls have been hired by Harper's Hardware to provide cute little entertainment for the employee holiday party, only halfway through the performance we all get handed some surprising news (no, you'll just have to wait and see for yourselves). Similar to the original show, "The Marvelous Wonderettes", where the girls sang for their high school prom and then for a special ten year reunion, these Wonderettes also argue and bond over frothy tunes in two acts.
Jill Van Velzer is Cindy Lou, the more promiscuous of the bunch, Misty Cotton is Missy, the now happily married member of the crew, Bets Malone is Suzy, the ever-pregnant, sweetly daft one and Betty Jean, the practical one, is portrayed by the marvelous understudy Lowe Taylor. All girls work together well and harmonize beautifully to such fun numbers as "Santa Baby", "Jingle Bell Rock", "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "What are you Doing New Year's Eve?", "Winter Wonderland", their favorite high school Chipmunks chant of course and even some international numbers. Writer/Director Roger Bean and Musical Director Brian Baker keep the songs lively and more or less relevant to the story line, in keeping with Wonderettes tradition.
Set Designer Victoria Profitt gives us enormous wrapped boxes, a pretty tree and even some mistletoe. The girls themselves interact with audience members just as mischievously as the last time and once again, be warned about sitting in the front rows. It's all in good fun, however, and awfully entertaining. We feel part of the girls' holiday and what could be more fun than sharing the holiday spirit with a Wonderette? Although both Wonderettes shows have rather thin plots, the fantastic costumes (thank you Ann Closs-Farley) and immense likeability and obvious vocal talent of the girls more than make up for it, especially when we are already in the December mood.
One more word to the wise: due to their immense popularity and cult following, many shows are now sold out. So try to see them now before they head off to their impressive Off-Broadway debut. (But don't worry, if you miss out, you can still buy some "Wonder Wear" on their website). Congratulations girls and Go Chipmunks!
Previous review here: http://www.katewestreviews.com/2007/07/marvelous-wonderettes.html