2011-02-03 / Dining & Entertainment

Expect the unexpected with ‘Marvelous Wonderettes’

Play review
By Cary Ginell


READY TO SING—Darcie Roberts, Beth Malone, Misty Cotton and Bets Malone star in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s “The Marvelous Wonderettes” playing now at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. 
Photo courtesy of Ed Krieger READY TO SING—Darcie Roberts, Beth Malone, Misty Cotton and Bets Malone star in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s “The Marvelous Wonderettes” playing now at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Photo courtesy of Ed Krieger “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” Roger Bean’s love letter to late 1950s pop music, is coming to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza for a two-week run.

Staged by Cabrillo Music Theatre, the show got its start in Southern California, making its debut in 2006 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. Two years later, it was an off-Broadway hit, running for 16 months at the Westside Theatre on 43rd Street in New York.

Three of the four actresses playing the members of the Springfield High School singing group in the Cabrillo production were part of the New York cast. Last week, I sat down with Beth Malone (Betty Jean), Bets Malone (Suzy), Misty Cotton (Missy), and Darcie Roberts (Cindy Lou) to talk about the show.

Q: How is this show different from other so-called “jukebox musicals”?

Bets: Although the songs are the vehicle for what Roger was doing, I think he’s captured so much heart and love with them. And the girls are so brilliantly flawed that they’re really easy for everybody to identify with.

Q: Which songs helped define your characters the most?

Beth: “Lipstick on Your Collar” is the first time you get to see what makes Betty Jean tick.

Darcie: In the first act, I sing “Lucky Lips,” which sums up the shallowness of my character (laughs).

Bets: “Stupid Cupid” hits the nail on the head for Suzy.

Misty: “Secret Love” is a very impassioned song for Missy. She has lots of passion in so many areas.

All four girls have performed here before, in addition to appearing in “Wonderettes” across the country: Darcie (“The Andrews Brothers”), Misty (“Happy Days”) and Bets (“Ragtime”) were in Cabrillo productions, while Beth (“Fade Out–Fade In”) acted with the Musical Theatre Guild.

One aspect that keeps the show fresh is the cast’s interaction with members of the audience. The cast has learned to expect the unexpected when they choose someone.

Beth: Sometimes we bring someone on who is so hot that none of us can concentrate (everyone giggles).

Darcie: You never know what you’re going to get. We have had drunks.

Bets: We’ve had people who couldn’t quite make it up on stage.

Beth: We love the unexpected. So, because we’ve been doing this so long, we just say, “Bring it!”

Bets: If something really goes wrong, we can’t talk about it because we’re all on stage at the same time for the whole show. Then at intermission, we all explode because we’ve kept it in for 15 minutes.

Misty: There’s no time to discuss anything. There are signals I have if I’m going to change my mind about something, and they know what it is when I give them a sign.

Darcie: The most important factor for this show is the chemistry between us. You have to trust each other, have fun, but be aware of and support each other when something crazy happens.

Q: What do you like best about your character?

Beth: Betty Jean is flawed in an irresistible way. I like that she tries really hard and is very earnest.

Darcie: Cindy Lou is sort of desperate. There’s something that’s kind of nice about being the one that’s sitting back and hoping for her life to be something that it ends up not being.

Bets: Suzy is that person that everybody liked. She’s the only character who is 100 percent living from moment to moment. She’s like Gidget and Doris Day combined, the bubble-gum-popping ’50s girl.

Misty: Missy is intense about everything. She’s very “Type A.” But underneath all of that, she wants everyone to have a good time.

Everyone should have a good time with this “marvelous,” heartwarming show as well. Don’t miss it.

“The Marvelous Wonderettes” plays at the Fred Kavli Theatre Feb. 4 to 13. For tickets, call (805) 449- 2787 or go online to http:// cabrillomusictheatre.com.

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