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‘Winter Wonderettes’ serves up holiday cheer

By R. Eli Townsend
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy PSCA From left, Boni McIntyre, Jamie Finkenthal, Margaret Ozaki and Karen Jeffreys are The Wonderettes, and the group is revved up and celebrating the holiday season in the Thingamajig Theatre Co. production of “Winter Wonderettes.” The show runs through Dec. 31.

Photo courtesy PSCA
From left, Boni McIntyre, Jamie Finkenthal, Margaret Ozaki and Karen Jeffreys are The Wonderettes, and the group is revved up and celebrating the holiday season in the Thingamajig Theatre Co. production of “Winter Wonderettes.” The show runs through Dec. 31.

Occasionally, the second time around is just as much fun as the first.

Such is the case with “Winter Wonderettes,” which features a zany girl quartet in a musical reunion playing now at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, Thingamajig Theatre Company’s holiday offering this season. It’s the sequel to the off-Broadway hit, “The Marvelous Wonderettes” and is just as much fun.

This year’s show has a holiday twist and features yuletide gems from the ’60s such as “Snowfall,” “Marshmallow World” and “Little Saint Nick.” Audience involvement adds to the merriment as the cast plays to (and sometimes with) those in the house in the theater’s intimate cabaret-style seating.

The Wonderettes’ transformation of Harper’s Hardware into a “Holiday Happening,” their playful tour “Christmas Around the World” and their penchant for silly activities like “Hide the Elf” and other reindeer games should be ample clues that theatergoers are in for a humorous and irreverently celebratory evening.

Factors contributing to the Wonderettes’ continuing success on stage include choreographer Ryan Hazelbaker’s crisp period choreography, tight harmonies and the often humorous character quirks brought to each number by the four talented actresses.

Missy (Karen Jeffreys) is a newlywed, still head over heels in heated love with her husband, ensconced in the front row. Jeffreys misses no opportunity to tease hubby with winks, kisses and a scarlet nightie in her smoking come-on, “This Christmas.”

Likewise, Boni McIntyre, as Betty Jean, delivers an innuendo-laden proposition “What are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” to her new acquaintance Bob at the back of the house. The song represents a turning point in the evening for a character down on her luck and lifts the show toward a festive conclusion.

Another highlight in Act II is Jamie Finkenthal’s poignant response to her character’s shattered childhood holiday dreams. Her delivery of “All Those Christmas Cliches” sounds a reflective note and reveals a different dimension to Cindy Lou.

In contrast, Margaret Ozaki, as the perennially pregnant Suzy, presents an ebullient character. Her tap dancing “Suzy Snowflake,” punctuated by a shuffle-off-to-Buffalo, is one of the show’s funniest moments, rivaled only by her serape-clad “Donde Esta Santa Claus?”

These Wonderettes, the perfect hostesses to usher in the holiday season, will continue their run through New Year’s Eve.

Thingamajig Theatre Company presents, “Winter Wonderettes,” directed by Pat Payne, rated G. Wednesday-Saturday 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., special Christmas Eve show at 7 p.m.

For tickets and information, visit www.pagosacenter.org or call 731-SHOW.

This story was posted on December 19, 2013.