“The Marvelous Wonderettes,” a jukebox musical now playing at the Alhambra Theatre &Dining, is two hours of music in search of a story.
The first act is set in 1958 during the senior prom at Springfield High School. When called upon to perform as a last-minute replacement, the Marvelous Wonderettes — seniors Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy — entertain their classmates by singing all or part of 17 pop songs, most of them from the 1950s. In act two, the songbirds reunite in 1968 to perform at the Springfield High Class of 1958’s 10th reunion. They sing all or part of 17 pop songs, most of them from the 1960s.
There’s very little plot but a few good jokes.
In act one, Cindy Lou, played by Juliana Davis, and Betty Jean, played by Kayla Thomas, quarrel about a boy and do their best to one-up each other. Missy, played by Erica Lustig, reveals she has a crush on their music teacher, Mr. Lee, who is played by an audience member. Suzy, whose boyfriend is running the lights, gets elected prom queen, supposedly elected by the audience members who cast ballots late in the first act.
In act two, Cindy Lou and Betty Jean reconcile after being estranged for several years and both reveal they are going through relationship problems. Missy reveals she’s been dating Mr. Lee, though she’s not happy he hasn’t proposed to her. It becomes clear that there are problems in Suzy’s relationship with her husband, who is running the lights.
How much you enjoy the show depends a lot on whether you love the pop songs that take the place of a real story. I don’t love most of the songs in the show so I didn’t particularly like the show. My wife, who likes more of the songs than I do, found it entertaining if insubstantial. I guess the audience shared her feelings since the show got a standing ovation the night I saw it.
Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413