1950’s musical innocence defines The Marvelous Wonderettes, and that very innocence is something that audiences find very attractive. The first act of the show takes place in 1958, a time when American Bandstand offered wholesome entertainment, Pat Boone was a teen idol, and girl’s skirts still went down to the knee. The four young ladies who are The Marvelous Wonderettes, Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy, and Suzy, represent that period.
The second act, which is set in 1968, a time of turbulence in the U.S., still embraces musical innocence, but in a different way, as many of the songs in that act are more about teens, specifically women, setting new rules and following their dreams. Still, all-in-all, musical innocence defines The Marvelous Wonderettes, making it fun, endearing, and eminently enjoyable by a large cross-section of audiences.
Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beechnut Show
One show that certainly defined the late 50s was Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beechnut Show, which ran from February 15, 1958 to September 10, 1960. Sponsored by Beechnut Gum, the popular variety show was aired Saturdays from 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Clark’s show featured chart-climbing musical performers, interviews with celebrities such as Bob Hope, Tony Randall, and Johnny Carson, and a countdown from the number 10 down to the number one songs on that week’s top 40.
Clark did 136 shows, all of which were broadcast live. Of the 136 shows. 131 were broadcast from Manhattan’s Little Theater located at 240 West 44th Street, NYC. (It is now the Helen Hayes Theatre.) The other five shows were broadcast from various parts of the U.S. from June 11, 1960 to July 9, 1960.
As musical innocence defines The Marvelous Wonderettes, it also defined Clark’s show. One of the prime examples would be the appearance of The Chordettes, who on February 22, 1958 sang two of their hits, “Lollipop” and “Mr. Sandman.” Both of these songs can be found in the first act of The Marvelous Wonderettes
The Chordettes singing “Lollipop” and “Mr. Sandman” on Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beechnut Show
Act II and The Marvelous Wonderettes
Although the second act of The Marvelous Wonderettes includes a reprise of “Mr. Sandman,” the majority of the songs focus on themes that are less innocent, such as rebellion (“Leader of the Pack”), cheating (“Maybe I Know”), equality (“RESPECT”), and female independence (“You Don’t Own Me”). Although 1950’s musical innocence defines The Marvelous Wonderettes in its initial act, there’s a different type of musical innocence in act two. Our next blog considers that new type of innocence and how so many of the songs by Lesley Gore, featured in The Marvelous Wonderettes, contain this new energy.
Please contact us today for group tickets to The Marvelous Wonderettes, with performances at Theatre Row, Kirk Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St., NYC 10036 on Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. & 8:15 p.m., Thursdays at 8:15 p.m., and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Group ticket prices are just $45 per person with the group rate kicking in with eight or more. We make it easy for you to secure your great group ticket rate. For group sales, email either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 212-362-5797 or 800-922-0716.