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Live show returns to the professional stage at Theatre NorthWest

Theatre NorthWest presents the show from Nov. 18 to Dec. 8 featuring two local actors in starring roles and an all-local live band to accompany them.

The Marvelous Wonderettes are bringing the 50s and 60s back to life.

Theatre NorthWest presents the show from Nov. 18 to Dec. 8 featuring two local actors in starring roles and an all-local live band to accompany them.

When the glee club, that includes Missy, Suzy, Betty Jean and Cindy Lou, comes together at the last minute to sing at their senior prom the spotlight offers a bit too much pressure as their personal lives clash in hilarious high-school fashion.

Audience members will see that happen in the first act while during the second act the same characters are seen at their high school reunion 10 years later.

The local stars of the show include Shelby Meaney who plays Cindy Lou and Maggie Trepanier who plays Betty Jean. Ali Watson from Vancouver plays Suzi and Becca Thackray from Victoria plays Missy.

“Betty Jean is the jokey, least put-together one of the group,” Trepanier said of her character.

All an audience member has to do is look down at her choice of footwear to know that Betty Jean is a bit of a rebel. She’s wearing her comfortable saddle shoes with her frilly frock instead of the expected dress shoes with sensible heels and ankle straps that should be part of her 1957 prom-dress ensemble.

“She’s a little quirky and likes to pull pranks and she has a very interesting relationship with Cindy Lou, who Shelby Meaney plays, and that’s super fun because Shelby and I have known each other for years,” Trepanier said. “We’ve worked together before so it’s really fun that we’re both back in Prince George and we get do this really silly, fun relationship together.”

Trepanier returned to Prince George in March 2020 after getting her masters degree in musical theatre in England, while Meaney returned five years ago after she went to school for musical theatre in Toronto at Randolph College for the Performing Arts and traveled the world for a time and hasn’t been on a Prince George stage since Legally Blonde three and a half years ago.

Trepanier said she is so pleased to be doing a professional show at home.

“I am so excited for everyone here to come and see it,” Trepanier said.

Being in musical theatre a performer has to be a triple threat - strong in singing, dancing and acting.

“Specifically in this show the singing is so important as we sing the whole show pretty much,” Trepanier said.

“It’s a challenge but it’s great because it gives me a chance to show off more acting and singing skills because I haven’t gotten the opportunity to do more of that as I’ve typically done more dance roles. It’s really exciting because I have trained for this and now I get to flex those skills a little bit.”

Director Sarah Rodgers loves this show and knows the audience will, too.

She has a big background in theatre arts beginning with her bachelor of arts in acting she earned at UBC. After being a professional actor for 15 years she decided to focus her energy on directing and returned to university in 2003 to earn her masters in fine arts in directing.

“I’ve been directing full on since then,” Rodgers said.

“I just love musicals - I direct everything and have done seven seasons of Theatre Under the Stars in Vancouver, which is the big musicals set outdoors, which has prepared me very well for this jukebox musical.”

Rodgers said she’s so pleased with how the show is developing.

“And you know there are two local gals who are amazing and it’s great to see them perform at this level,” Rodgers said.  

“Everybody is on the same professional level and they all have what I call mad skills. They are all triple threat. The show is a celebration of music from the 1950s and the 1960s and also the joy of friendship of these young women in the time of bubble-gum innocence.”

When it comes to the 1960s music it’s all about the Motown sound.

“It’s also about these beautiful young ladies in very different times - the Vietnam war, the civil rights movement,” Rodgers said. “And what I love about it for these young ladies is it’s about emancipation songs like You Don’t Own Me, It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To to give the audience a taste of that lovely era. It’s one of those musicals where the audience will recognize every song and it’s a toe-tapping show that is filled with nostalgia. It’s such a feel-good show.”

For more information and tickets visit https://tickets.theatrenorthwest.com.