‘Wonderettes’ will warm you up for holiday fun
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media November 8, 2012 12:46PM
The Winter Wonderettes will perform at Fox Valley Repertory at Pheasant Run Nov. 15-Dec. 30. | Courtesy of Pheasant Run
‘The Winter Wonderettes’
♦ Nov. 15-Dec. 30
♦ Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles.
♦ Tickets, $32-$42
♦ (630) 584-6342
Updated: November 13, 2012 4:54PM
A Christmas version of an off-Broadway musical is coming to St. Charles.
“The Winter Wonderettes,” a holiday version of “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” will be at Pheasant Run Resort Nov. 15 to Dec. 30. Show times are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays. Additional shows are at 8 p.m. Nov. 15 and 21, and Dec. 6 and 20; and at 2 p.m. Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and 13; and 4 p.m. Dec. 1, 8 and 15.
It was written and created by Roger Bean and directed by Patrick Stinson. In the original show, there are four girls — Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy — who start a singing group and sing for their high school prom. The second act is set 10 years later and they sing at their 10-year high school reunion.
This show is set four months after their 10-year reunion in 1968, and Betty Jean has organized the holiday party at Harper’s Hardware Store.
“They’re putting on a Christmas show, and you learn more about the characters and how they interact with each other,” Stinson said. “It’s very funny. There’s a lot of great ‘50s and ‘60s Christmas music.”
Things heat up when Santa goes missing and the whole staff mistakenly gets fired on Christmas Eve. The Wonderettes have to use their talent and ingenuity to put the “merry” back in Christmas.
Classic holiday hits include “Santa Baby,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “It’s a Marshmallow World” and more.
“I think one of the coolest things about this show is that you really get to see the girls mature,” he said. “You don’t need to see both shows to understand how the girls mature. It’s pretty interesting. It’s what we call a jukebox musical, where we take songs people know already like ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ and put them into one show. There’s not original music that people don’t know. These are all songs people know and will leave humming.”
The entire audience is treated as employees of the hardware store. For people not keen on actors talking to them, Stinson assured that they didn’t have to be a part of the action.
“The idea of the show for me is touching on nostalgia,” he said. “Not everyone in the audience will have grown up in the ’50s and ’60s, but we all have that sense of how Christmas and the holidays feel. Thinking back to when you were a kid and things were homemade and not as corporate. It really felt like Christmas when you heard the music and you had that joy in your heart, because you knew family was coming and presents were coming and you knew that all the things Christmas brings was going to be a part of your life. That’s the feel of the show we’re going for.”
All of the girls have been in the original show or this one, as a cast member or understudy, so they’re all very familiar with the roles they’re playing, he said. They’ve learned the script and dancing easily, he said.
“It’s a very fun show,” he said. “I’ve directed all these shows with deep feelings and strong messages, and dramas and musicals, but this show is just plain fun. It’s nice every once in awhile to not have to worry about overcoming conflicts. Every once in awhile you just want to have fun. And that’s what this show is. It’s just fun. Especially this time of year. It sounds simple. It is.”