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A spinoff (of sorts) to 'Marvelous Wonderettes'*

June 22, 2009 |  3:19 pm

Since it ran for nearly two years in Los Angeles, "The Marvelous Wonderettes" has become a certifiable stage franchise, with a production currently running off-Broadway in New York, and two others set to open in Chicago and Miami in the coming months.

No doubt smelling even more profit, the producers of the '50s jukebox musical are in the midst of ramping up a spinoff (of sorts) titled "Life Could Be a Dream." The new show will focus on the fictional boy group band "The Crooning Crabcakes" -- you might remember that they were the rival group ousted from the high school prom in "Wonderettes." The follow-up musical tells the story of the band members' comic romantic adventures as they try to win a local radio contest and make it big in the music world. The show features doo-wop hits from the '50s, including "The Great Pretender," "Unchained Melody," "Earth Angel" and of course, the inspiration for the title, "Sh-Boom."

Writer-director Roger Bean, who helmed "Wonderettes," returns for the new show, along with choreographer Lee Martino. "Life Could Be a Dream," which will open Aug. 7 at the Hudson Mainstage in Hollywood, stars Doug Carpenter, Justin Michael Duval, Jim Holdridge, Daniel Tatar and Jessica Keenan Wynn. (UPDATE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that the show would open Aug. 9.)

"Life Could Be a Dream" was first staged two years ago in Milwaukee but has since undergone substantial revision for its L.A. premiere, according to the show's producers.

No doubt, "Wonderettes" fans will be thrilled at the prospect of more candy-colored Eisenhower-era innocence (or depending on how you read it, thinly veiled gay camp). Also thrilled, we suspect, will be the rights holders for the memorable melodies performed on stage. Let the ticket sales and royalty checks start flowing.

-- David Ng

Photo: Victoria Matlock, Farah Alvin, Bets Malone and Beth Malone are shown in a scene from "The Marvelous Wonderettes." Credit: Associated Press