Eden Run

Theatre Three gets snakebit with a Bible musical; Winter Wonderettes rattle and roll

Addison's WaterTower Theatre gets wiggy with it in The Winter Wonderettes, a jingle-jangled Christmas-themed musical revue featuring four women in hairpieces the size of the tree at Rockefeller Center. Betty Jean (Marisa Diotalevi), Cindy Lou (Stacey Oristano), Missy (Mary Gilbreath) and Suzy (Megan Elizabeth Kelly) are a singing quartet all done up in sequins and velvets ("blue--a tribute to those of the Jewish persuasion") and booked to entertain the employees (meaning us, the audience) at a hardware store's annual yuletide wingding. Corny, you betcha. But a stocking full of fun as directed by comedy maven Cheryl Denson, who knows a thing or 12 about snappy pacing and the well-timed double take.

The Wonderettes warble in close harmony, like distant cousins of the old King Family, those big-haired gals who rivaled the Osmonds and Andy Williams for December TV airtime in the 1960s. There are the usual renditions of "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." But the show's creator Roger Bean has the wit and wisdom to include "Mele Kalikimaka" (the Hawaiian Christmas song), the very fine "All Those Christmas Clichés" by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (the composers of Ragtime and A Man of No Importance) and "Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day" by Lee Jackson and Patti Seymour (sung with seductive oomph by Oristano).

Act 2 of the show finds Diotalevi's character acting a bit overtippled from spiked eggnog, turning the proceedings into an approximation of a Christmas episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. And will the hardware store owner ever show up in the Santa suit to pass out the year-end bonuses?

Eden is a clunker of biblical proportions, except 
among church youth groups.
Eden is a clunker of biblical proportions, except among church youth groups.


Children of Eden continues through January 14 at Theatre Three, 214-871-3300. and The Winter Wonderettes continues through December 23 at WaterTower Theater, 972-450 -6232.

If you get an aisle seat, be warned that you might end up onstage. Opening night found one happy gent from the second row mugging up a storm after he was plucked for some audience participation. As the ladies sang "Santa Baby" to him, he got a little too into the role of Old Saint Nick and started ad-libbing like mad. But it was all good fun. Who doesn't love a good Christmas cheeseball?

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