THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES talk about bringing the 50’s & 60’s to London

Names: Sophie Camble, Louise Young, Kara Taylor Alberts and Rosie Needham
Name of show: The Marvelous Wonderettes
Venue: Upstairs at the Gatehouse
Dates of run: 9 April – 12 May

Can you tell me about the show?
SOPHIE CAMBLE: It’s about four girls singing at their High School Senior Prom, sharing their experiences of love and their friendships. Act 2 is ten years on and they are back singing at their High School Reunion. The girls relay the events of their love-lives over the last ten years.
LOUISE YOUNG: Set in 1958 Springfield, The Marvelous Wonderettes is a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Using the best classics of the era, we watch the lives of four teenage girls unfold from their Prom Night all the way to their ten-year reunion.
ROSIE NEEDHAM: I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s fast-paced and full of songs that you will know and love. You follow 4 friends from their High School Prom to their 10-Year Reunion, with themes of love and friendship.
KARA TAYLOR ALBERTS: The show is about four girls who at the last minute get the chance to be the entertainment at their High School Prom. It follows their relationships with their boyfriends/crushes and also each other.

What part do you play in the show and where does it fit in to the story?
SC: I play Missy Miller and I would say she’s the bossy one. She is the organiser and gets most upset when things don’t go to plan. She is very clever and creative but finds it difficult to loosen up.
LY: I play Betty Jean, the class clown. She’s the lovable, unlucky-in-love tomboy who masks her struggle to understand who she is by constantly vying for attention, desperately trying to make everyone laugh. Her best friend Cindy Lou steals her boyfriend away, which only exacerbates their endless rivalry.
RN: I play Cindy Lou. She has a lot of rivalry with Betty Jean throughout the show and probably has the biggest change in Act 2.
KA: I play Suzy who is a really happy-go-lucky girl. She is a bit away with the fairies but is a lot of fun, she is always chewing gum and getting into trouble by accident. She’s in a relationship with Ritchie who is operating the lights so there is an interesting storyline there too.

What’s your favourite part of the whole show and why?
SC: I think when it’s all about Girl Power and we stick together and stand up to our men. There’s something very empowering about it being an all-female cast and I love it when we all come together.
LY: This is the first time I’ve got to play a really comedic role and I am having so much fun. Getting to create a character from scratch and bring all my kookiness to the table is so exciting. My favourite bit would have to be the end of Act One, where Betty Jean and Cindy Lou are trying to outdo each other during ‘Sincerely.’ It gets pretty weird and I can’t wait to see how it’s going to develop over the run.
RN: That’s a hard question. I love so many of the songs and working with the lovely girls. One of my favourite moments is ‘You Don’t Own Me’, because it’s full of Girl Power. I also enjoy fighting with Betty Jean (Louise Young).
KA: I love the relationship between the four girls and how they support each other (most of the time!).

What has been a highlight of your career so far?
SC: Probably 42nd Street at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Opening Night when the curtain went up, the roar of the audience was immense. I was so excited I thought I was going to explode! But I honestly have loved every job I’ve done. I feel so lucky to be doing this. I love it so much.
LY: Getting to play Sophie in the West End production of Mamma Mia! was pretty epic, but my ultimate career highlight would have to be getting my heel caught in my flares during ‘Super Trouper.’ Stacking it in front of a sea of a thousand people is something I (and quite a few of my cast) will never forget. It really got wedged in there as well, so it took what felt like a million years to get back up!
RN: A highlight so far for me is getting to travel and see so many places. Also the wonderful people you get to meet along the way and the friends you get to make.
KA: I played Maid Marian in the Italian tour of Robin Hood and that was pretty incredible. We got to perform in these beautiful old 2,000 seat theatres and see the most incredible places like Rome, Verona, Florence and Milan. I love travelling, so was a complete dream come true for me.

Who are your biggest inspirations inside and outside of the industry?
SC: My family – they are everything to me. I find the people who keep going, rejection after rejection, the most inspiring. It’s so tough and to pick yourself up and get back out there takes so much strength. It’s pretty incredible. I certainly couldn’t do it without my family and friends. It’s comments from Grandma like “Something better is round the corner, you just can’t see it yet” that keep me going.
LY: My biggest inspiration career-wise is a phenomenal actress and writer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She absolutely nails dark comedy and is producing some of the best work I’ve ever seen on TV. Outside of the industry would have to be my wonderful Mum, who continues to inspire me every day.
RN: Literally everyone in this industry is an inspiration. It’s really not easy at times and the ups and downs can be really hard. My best friends inspire me every day with their determination and support.
KA: I am a huge fan of Stephen Sondheim. I love the way he tells stories and how clever his work is. I also have always loved Bernadette Peters, she is a real inspiration. Outside of the industry, my Dad is probably my biggest inspiration.
Having him as a role model to be inspired by is one of the things I am most grateful for.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
SC: I have to brush my teeth.
LY: There are 35 songs in the show and nearly all of them have some pretty intricate harmonies. so it could go one of two ways: I’ll either be practising ‘Mr. Sandman’ religiously or blaring out S Club and dancing my troubles away.
RN: It’s different for every show! For this one it will be going to the loo, because we won’t get a chance during the show, as we don’t leave the stage!
KA: I always drink a lot of tea, warm up and use my nebuliser or steam. Also, the day of opening night I always listen to Jack Johnson’s “In Between Dreams” album all the way through. Not sure how that started but it has stuck.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?
SC: ‘This Will Be An Everlasting Love’ by Natalie Cole.
LY: ‘Never Forget You’ by the Noisettes. Whenever I hear that song, I know it’s going to be a good day.
RN: That’s a very hard question…’Here Comes The Sun’ by The Beatles is one of my favourites. It just makes me feel so happy.
KA: ‘Drops of Jupiter’ by Train. It is me and my little brother’s favourite.

What’s so special about this production and why should audiences come to see it?
SC: It’s a really happy, fun show. The music is all 50s and 60s familiar pop songs that everyone can sing along to. I’m sure people will leave feeling uplifted with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.
LY: My three fellow cast mates are so incredible; they continue to amaze me every day. It is also a predominantly female production team, which is a rarity in this industry and should be celebrated! There’s some stellar kazoo and tambourine action too, which will be going on my spotlight CV! Look forward to seeing you at Springfield High!
RN: It’s the UK Premiere of The Marvelous Wonderettes, so we all feel very special to be part of it. All the girls are so talented and we’ve had so much fun in the rehearsal room with our wonderful creative team. So come and see what we’ve been getting up to.
KA: The music alone is a good enough reason, it is a real celebration of the great 50s/60s songs. Also, the characters are funny and lovable and their relationships with each other are really special. If you are looking for a fun night out with brilliant music, this is your show!

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma

REVIEW: THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES (Upstairs at the Gatehouse) ★★★★


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