'Dream' musical promises summer fun

We've seen "The Marvelous Wonderettes," the female singing group that entertained at the high school prom when the previously announced boy band was axed — twice in fact — but whatever happened to those unfortunate guys?

Well, Laguna Playhouse patrons will find out, beginning this weekend and continuing through Aug. 29 as the 1950s return with their own show, "Life Could Be a Dream."

Writer-director Roger Bean unveiled his "Marvelous Wonderettes" two seasons ago, the story line being that they were last-minute replacements for a quartet of guys who got caught smoking in the boys' restroom. They proved so popular they returned to Laguna last year for "Winter Wonderettes."

Bean's "Life Could Be a Dream" throws the spotlight on the Crooning Crabcakes, the guys who were booted from the Springfield High School prom, making it possible for the Wonderettes to perform.

The boys have one more chance at fame and fortune — an audition at a local radio contest. Will they pull it off this time?

If you're a Fifties fan like me, just the bill of fare alone is enough to lure you to the theater. Songs like "Stay," "Runaround Sue," "Tears on My Pillow," "Unchained Melody" and "Earth Angel" are involved, along with my personal favorite, "The Great Pretender" (which inspired my e-mail address). The title comes from the hit number "Sh-boom."

The cast of "Life Could Be a Dream" includes Doug Carpenter, Ryan Castellino, Jim Holdridge, Daniel Tatar and Jessica Keenan Wynn. If that last name sounds familiar, it should — she's the granddaughter of Keenan Wynn and the great-granddaughter of Ed Wynn.

It seems there are still quite a few of us Fifties people still around. The show, like its companion piece, has won multiple Ovation awards, as well as honors from the LA Drama Critics Circle, Backstage and LA Weekly.

Of course, to see the show you'll have to park elsewhere, since the Pageant of the Masters has commandeered the playhouse's parking lot. Your best bet is to leave your wheels at the Act V lot up Laguna Canyon Road a ways and take the free shuttle to the theater.

It should be worth the inconvenience. How often do you get to hear real fifties music anymore?

If You Go

WHAT: "Life Could Be a Dream"

WHERE: Laguna Playhouse, 660 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach

WHEN: Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2 p.m., Sundays at 7:30, Thursday matinees (except July 15) at 2 p.m.

COST: $40 - $70

CALL: (949) 497-2787

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