Entertainment » Theatre

Winter Wonderettes

by Christopher Verleger
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Wednesday Dec 12, 2012
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Lulu Lloyd (on knees), Melissa Robinette, Erin McCracken, and Kim Morgan Dean (on knees) star as Missy, Suzy, Cindy Lou and Betty Jean in the delightful musical comedy, ’The Winter Wonderettes’
Lulu Lloyd (on knees), Melissa Robinette, Erin McCracken, and Kim Morgan Dean (on knees) star as Missy, Suzy, Cindy Lou and Betty Jean in the delightful musical comedy, ’The Winter Wonderettes’   (Source:Mark Turek)

If you consider having to attend your annual office holiday party about as exciting as having a tooth pulled, there are four talented, attractive young ladies who may help you think differently. The feisty foursome of Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy, also known as "The Winter Wonderettes," now appearing at Ocean State Theatre Company, invite you to celebrate the yuletide season along with them and their co-workers from Harper’s Hardware for a joyous occasion filled with singing, dancing and endless laughs.

The members of "The Winter Wonderettes," written and created by Roger Bean, include store manager Betty Jean (Kim Morgan Dean), the cagey leader of the quartet who recruits her three lifelong friends for this Holiday Happening.

The prim and proper Missy (Lulu Lloyd), having recently returned from her honeymoon, takes every available opportunity to call attention to her husband in the audience.

Then there’s expectant Suzy (Melissa Robinette), the most scatterbrained of the bunch, who doesn’t let her expanding belly slow her down, and last but not least, the sexy and incorrigibly flirtatious Cindy Lou (Eric McCracken).

On a showroom stage, equal parts Home Depot and FAO Schwarz (courtesy of Kimberly Powers’ stellar set design), what follows is a colorful, energetic holiday extravaganza, circa 1968, with renditions of familiar tunes like "Jingle Bell Rock," "Sleigh Ride," and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."

Folks are flailing their arms and shimmying out of their seats. Only a foursome as gifted and inclined as these Wonderettes could amass such enthusiastic results.

Lesser known but equally catchy numbers include "Little Saint Nick," even though Santa fails to appear, much to the ladies’ chagrin, and "Run, Rudolph, Run." The girls take flight and pay tribute to areas abroad with "O Tanenbaum" and "Mele Kalikimaka," while the heartfelt ballad "Snowfall" and the somber "Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day" remind the audience that there is more to Christmas than just parties and presents.

During the second act, after having received some unfortunate news, Betty Jean passes the torch to Missy, who encourages her counterparts to select audience members to join them on stage, including a stand-in Mr. Claus for a "Santa Baby" serenade.

The party atmosphere envelops the crowd like a tidal wave, and soon thereafter, folks are flailing their arms and shimmying out of their seats. Only a foursome as gifted and inclined as these Wonderettes could amass such enthusiastic results.

With the season upon us and a new year just a few short weeks away, if the holiday spirit has thus far escaped you, make a point to crash Ocean State Theatre’s party starring "The Winter Wonderettes." They’re simply wonderette-ful!

"The Winter Wonderettes" continues through Dec. 30 at Ocean State Theatre Company, 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI. For info or tickets, call 401-921-6800 or visit Ocean State Theatre Company’s website.

Chris Verleger is an avid reader, aspiring novelist and self-professed theater geek from Providence. Email cwverleger1971@yahoo.com.

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