“The Marvelous Wonderettes” Unites its Audience Through Music

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“The Marvelous Wonderettes” is a comedic throwback musical complete with about 35 songs composed of hits from the 1950s and 1960s. Its large, familiar repertoire of music is a key piece of the musical’s effect on both its performers and its audience. 

“Music has the ability to bring people together,” said Ashlynn Rober, a member of the Lyric Repertory Company. Rober, who was cast as the character Suzy, recently graduated from the BFA acting program at Utah State University. 

“The most powerful stories are conveyed through song,” Rober said. “Everybody leaves with a big smile.” 

The musical’s first act introduces four friends — Suzy, Betty Jean, Cindy Lou and Missy — singing at their high school prom and discussing what their dream futures would be. The second act consists of them singing at their ten-year high school reunion and reflecting on how they’ve changed since they were last together.

The show was chosen for its appeal to an older audience. The pre-show had to warn the audience not to sing along with the classic, well-known songs. 

Student actors perform “The Marvelous Wonderettes”

The bulk of the show’s responsibilities fell on the four leading actors, who sang most of the songs in demanding four-part harmonies. According to Stephanie White, the show’s director, the four proved they were up for the challenge.

“We all just became the fastest friends,” said Rober about herself and the other three actors who portray the friends: Ariana Whatcott, Kaia Fitzgerald, and Marin Robinson. This connection provided a real, relatable angle for the show.

Although their friendship allowed them to relate to their characters’ interactions, Rober said they aren’t all like their characters in real life. 

“It was unique and different to learn how to play (them),” she said. 

“I love working with an incredible creative team,” White wrote in an email when asked about her favorite part of running the show. She said she also enjoyed watching the audience understand jokes from a different period of time. 

With its jokes and older soundtrack, “The Marvelous Wonderettes” allows audiences of all ages to enjoy the theater together.  

“My grandmother has dementia… and was perked up at every song,” Rober said. “All of the songs are songs that, you know, 90% of our audiences grew up on.” 

For both Rober and White, the show is a prime example of the importance of theater for both its participants and its audience. 

“Music is moving. Music is power. Music is incredibly important,” Rober said.

White agreed, claiming the show was a chance for people to “realize humanity” with all of its ups and downs and important questions. 

“Usually we get all of that in a theater and usually we are better for it,” White said. 

 “The Marvelous Wonderettes” was at the Caine Lyric Theater this summer: July 14, 17, and 22. 

Rober was excited to announce the rest of the Lyric Repertory Company’s “really wonderful season,” complete with Twelfth Night; Break it Down; One Man, Two Guvnors; interACT; and VOSCO Call Spotlight, all available to catch throughout July.

Student actors perform “The Marvelous Wonderettes”

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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