Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
The castAnn Flanigan as Missy, Meredith Jones as Betty Jean, Sarah Ledtke McCann as Cindy Lou and Chelsea Turbin as Suzyare all thoroughly professional, both as actresses and singers, but they never rise to the levels of excitement that West Coast Black Theatre Troupe regularly offers. When Ms. Turbin leads the others in a late second act cover of Aretha Franklin's "Respect," I heard nothing of the original artist's guts and glory. Nice isn't necessarily enough.
Jason Cannon directs with a heavy handplot isn't this musical's strongest element. The chirpy excitement regarding voting for prom queen is sticky sweet. Ellie Mooney's choreography is true to the two periods and keeps the music front and center, helping focus the strengths of the piece.
Scenic design by Isabel and Moriah and Curley-Clay is eye poppingI sure wish my high school had fixed up that nice. Costume designs by Susan Angermann are spot on considering there is a plot point that they were executed by Missy in home ec. Work by lighting designer Thom Beaulieu and sound designer/supervisor Thom Korp are pluses, keeping this production on a higher level.
The Marvelous Wonderettes is a good choice to open a summer mainstage series. Sarasota audiences are likely going to take it to their hearts more than I do.
The Marvelous Wonderettes, through June 22, 2019, at Florida Studio Theatre, Gompertz Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota FL. For tickets and information, call the box office at 941-366-9000 or visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org.
Cast (in alphabetical order):