"The Marvelous Wonderettes"

Cast members of “The Marvelous Wonderettes” pose for a photo before final dress rehearsal. Pictured are Tia Beale, left, Kristen Seegers, Leanne Patrick and Diane Leo.

After weeks of rehearsal, it’s finally here — opening night of the show!

For many weeks we have been in rehearsal for “The Marve- lous Wonde- rettes,” and tonight at 7:30, we begin our two-weekend run at Lakeland Cultural Arts Center.

Sometimes I don’t think people realize how much work goes into a show — and this one we have been trying to produce since before the pandemic. I’ve worked with probably four different casts. I think we remember very well how COVID worked, shutting down everything.

Once we thought we could try again — new cast members brought in, more rehearsal, only to be canceled again and again. It’s been very hard, to say the least.

With this cast, there was one original cast member that fell through, so we thought once again, we were going to have to cancel, and maybe this show is just cursed. We had Leanne Patrick as Cindy Lou, Kristen Seegers as Betty Jean and myself as Missy, but no Suzy.

The three of us pounded away on the very hard music featured in this show while wondering if we were even going to be able to do the show. And when I say pounded away, I mean that — it was every single day, including early morning weekend music rehearsals.

And by the way, to my fellow cast members and music directors: I am not a morning person and being at rehearsal and trying to sing at 9 a.m. on a weekend was not the easiest thing for me to accomplish. I’m surprised any of you enjoyed being around me, but we did it!

Then along came our new friend Diane Leo as our Suzy, but she couldn’t do one of the original show dates. With Lakeland’s schedule, we were only going to have one weekend. So together, as a cast, we decided to open the show a week early — what were we thinking!? That’s even less rehearsal time.

There was a scheduled show for Friday night — Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix, so opening night was moved to tonight. And I really wanted to see Friday’s show — I mean, dogs performing tricks, come on! — but I needed the break and rest.

I did walk by his RV after leaving final dress rehearsal Thursday night and the dogs heard me and started barking. There were deep barks, then squeaky small barks — definitely the small and large variety dogs. I apologized for getting them going and then asked if there was a weenie dog inside. Alas, there was not. If he had said yes, I probably would have dragged myself to the show Friday night.

Hopefully, folks will come to our show this weekend and word of mouth will produce a sell-out for the rest of the performances. Sunday is special because it’s Mother’s Day. Lakeland is offering a special brunch that afternoon before the show to celebrate that special mother in your life.

I wish my mother was still with me. I think she would love this show. Her and my father always supported me and attended every show. Mom’s favorite character of mine was Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” but there have been so many shows since she passed away that I think she might have found a new favorite. This show would have been right up her alley. She was a young adult the year the first act is set — 1958. My mother graduated from Roanoke Rapids High School in 1956. There are so many songs from the 1950s, and then the second act is set in 1968 for a 10-year class reunion, featuring music from that era.

Don’t know what to get your mom for Mother’s Day? Well, treat her to brunch and a show, or if you already have plans for lunch, bring her to the show!

The show dates are 7:30 p.m. tonight, and May 19-20, with matinees at 2 p.m. Sunday and May 21. Tickets can be purchased at bit.ly/3Biaser, or call 252-586-3124. Lakeland is located at 411 Mosby Ave. in Littleton.

Editor Tia Beale can be reached at tiabedwell@rrdailyherald.com or 252-410-7056.

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