Roger Bean wrote the jukebox musical “The Marvelous Wonderettes” for his mother.

She grew up in Southern California and sang in high school vocal groups. As a child, Bean remembers her dancing around the house belting out “It’s My Party,” “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” and “Mr. Sandman” while doing household chores.

“I was always aware of these songs,” said Bean. “My mother had a very good voice. She sang in duos and trios all through high school, and then she became a homemaker.

“I often wonder what might have happened if she kept going. What might have been?”

“The Marvelous Wonderettes,” on stage through June 25 at Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, tells the story of those early days of pop and rock.

The feel-good musical takes audiences back to 1958 and the high school prom where The Wonderettes — Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy — are four young girls full of hopes and dreams. Act II finds the women reunited for their 10-year high school reunion.

The actresses will perform pop hits from the late ’50s through the late ’60s, including “Lollipop,” “Mr. Sandman,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” “Leader of the Pack” and “It’s My Party.”

The show is relatively new. Bean wrote it as a one-act in 1998, and developed it over the years into a full-fledged musical. It ran first in Los Angeles in 2006, then moved Off-Broadway to New York in 2008. It has been produced around the country in the years since.

Bean typically does not travel to the theaters that produce the show, but he wanted to come to Maine to consult with director Chan Harris and choreographer Jacob Toth during the rehearsal process.

Actually, he wanted to come to Maine because he likes it here. He visited a few years ago on a cruise ship, and vowed to return to spend more time for exploration. When he learned that Maine State Music Theatre planned to produce the show in its season-opening slot, it created a perfect excuse to come and enjoy the early days of summer.

“I am here mostly as a guest,” he said. “I find it fascinating as a writer to see other people interpreting my work. I watch without commenting too much. I try to stand in the back and let them go at it.”

The cast features Brittney Morello, Lara Seibert, Morgan Smith and Danielle Erin Rhodes. They sing 34 songs in the show, accompanied by a live band that performs on stage.

Putting the band on stage is similar to the set-up that Harris used last season for “Always Patsy Cline.” He directed that show as well, although audiences may remember him more for his work as a cast member in “Jesus Christ Superstar” from a few seasons ago.

The stage set for “The Marvelous Wonderettes” looks like a high school gym, with basketball hoops, bleachers, and a high school mascot painted on the floor.

As he designed the show, Toth spent a lot of time on YouTube researching dance moves from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

“As a choreographer, you have to be careful not to do anything too modern. Those new moves won’t fit,” he said. “So I have been watching a lot of Connie Francis videos.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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