Here come ‘The Taffetas’

Published 10:40 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

“The Taffetas” runs April 29, 30, May 1 and May 5-8 with a curtain time of 7:30 p.m. There is also a 2 p.m. matinee on May 2.

All performances take place at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

The box office opens for the public on Monday. Single admission prices are $17 for adults and $12 for students.

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Box office hours are from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. before Thursday and Friday evening performances, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. before Saturday evening performances and from 1 to 2 p.m. before Sunday matinee performances.

The box office telephone number is 377-4371.

Albert Lea Community Theatre is taking a stroll down memory lane.

ACT will open the Rick Lewis musical, “The Taffetas,” Thursday at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

Rory Mattson is directing the play, which he said he originally saw in regional theater competition.

“It was so cheesy cute,” he recalled. “It’s such a window on the 1950s.”

“The Taffetas” is the story of four sisters from Muncie, Ind., who set out to perform on a 1950s musical variety show, “Spotlight on Music.” The four sisters — Kaye, Peggy, Cheryl and Donna — highlight some of the greatest songs from the ‘50s, including “Sh-Boom,” “Mr. Sandman,” “Johnny Angel,” “How Much is That Doggy in the Window?” and more.

The Taffetas pay tribute to the sounds of The McGuire Sisters, The Fontane Sisters, The Shirelles and The Chordettes, just to name a few.

“The music will absolutely blow you away,” said Mattson.

The music is grouped into medleys, the director said, so audiences will hear things like a boys medley, a travel medley and a pet medley.

“The medleys are wonderful,” Mattson said.

Three of the four women in the cast are new to the Albert Lea Community Theatre stage. Brittany Stouwie plays Donna, Carla Reichel plays Cheryl, Rebecca Ogilvie plays Peggy, and Sue Wiersma, who was in ACT’s “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” a few years ago, plays Kaye.

Ogilvie said she auditioned for the play because of the music. “I love this music,” she said. “My mom would sing these songs when she was folding the laundry or cooking.”

She described her character as “June Cleaver with an edge.”

Reichel said she auditioned out of curiousity. “I haven’t done anything for about 15 years,” she added.

She describes her character as a male-dependent, typical blonde.

Wiersma said she also auditioned because of the great music. “It’s an awesome show for couples who want to hear some of the music of the era, but at the same time, it’s very much a family show.”

Stouwie moved to Albert Lea eight months ago and said she auditioned because she loves theater and liked the fact that the show is “very girly.”

She said she believes all ages will enjoy the show. “It has lots of humor,” she said.

Playing the part of the announcer is Steve Schwartz.

Laura Virgil is the musical director and plays keyboards. Jerry Jarman will play drums and Theresa Iverson will play bass.

Costumes are by Barb Lang and choreography is by Jody Ellertson.

Set design is by Crystal Schatz with construction by David Paschka and Steve Kinney.

The director said anyone who enjoys musical revues will enjoy this play. He added that “The Taffetas” was performed off Broadway two years before “Forever Plaid,” the male counterpart.

“If you love the ‘50s, this is a great show to see,” Ogilvie said. “If not, it’s appealing to a younger crowd, too.”

Added Reichel, “Anybody who loves nostalgia should come and see this show.”