The Marvelous Wonderettes at Main Street Playhouse Through October 27

There weren't many jukebox musicals prior to 1999's The Marvelous Wonderettes, but there have been countless since — a testament to the commercial foresight of its creator, Roger Bean. Arguably the first pop musical built around a collection of '50s and '60s hits (as opposed to musicals framed around the catalogue of a single artist), The Marvelous Wonderettes is set in a high school in 1958 and follows a quartet of varsity song leaders during a tumultuous prom night. There is much squabbling, many swooning dedications to local boys, and a talent competition. Act II is set a decade later during the girls' high school reunion, where the narrative remains fixed on their love lives and how they've evolved — or devolved — in the ten-year gap. The second act sounds ostensibly more substantial than the effervescent first, but this is fluffy stuff, and audiences should take it for what it is: a rollicking and comic survey of the golden oldies that used to play nonstop on Magic 102.7. There are more than 30 in all, from "Mr. Sandman" to "Respect."

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John Thomason