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Dream Team

LIFEcanbeaDREAM_D On the theory that success breeds success, or that lightning can strike twice (or even thrice), writer-director Roger Bean is premiering a new jukebox tuner this week that's a spinoff to a show that already had a successful sequel, Bean's 60s doo-wop girl-group musical The Marvelous Wonderettes {which was followed by a holiday-themed successor Winter Wonderettes). The debuting Life Could Be A Dream revisits the same fictional Midwestern high-school depicted in Wonderettes.

But the gender of the singing quartet has changed in the new show, with one distaff character (an ex-flame of one of the boys in the band) on hand, adding spice to the proceedings. The show bows this week at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood.

Producing partners David Elzer and Peter Schneider (noted for his years of work as a Disney film studio executive and his many stage directing accomplishments) hit pay dirt when Marvelous Wonderettes premiered in 1996 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. The musical earned ecstatic reviews, several L.A. theatre awards, and a long run, followed by subsequent smash Southern California engagements, and there was a hit holiday-season 2007 run of Winter Wonderettes at the El Portal. The producing duo then parlayed the runaway success into an Off-Broadway production of The Marvelous Wonderettes that opened last year and is still going strong.

In Life Could Be a Dream, a new boy-group, The Crooning Crabcakes, forms, determined to win the local contest on Big Whopper Radio, leading the way to a cavalcade of vintage golden oldies, such as "Runaround Sue,"  "The Great Pretender," "Earth Angel," and the title song. Award-winning choreographer Lee Martino and veteran musical director Michael Paternostro are on hand to ensure that the chart-topping standards are delivered with a proper song-and-dance flourish. The seasoned cast includes Doug Carpenter, Daniel Tatar, Jim Holdridge, Ryan Castellino, and Jessica Keenan Wynn.SoCal Stages_blog

The show continues through September 27. With a little bit of luck, this could be another dream come true for Bean, Elzer, and Schneider, and if it's even half as good as its Wonderettes progenitors, it should provide a blissful time for audiences as well.

--Les Spindle

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