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Wrinkles of Washington Logo Photo of one of the dances from the Fall 1995 show

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Ports of Call, Logo for the Fall 1995 show

WOW Fall 1995 Production

We crashed the door in ’94,
And came alive in ’95
So watch our tricks in ’96
En route to . . where? . . in ’97

While the poetry might lack a little something, WOW first show, "Sentimental Journey", was such a resounding success that a commitment was made to reserve the same time every year for a similar production.  So in the fall of 1995, "Ports of Call" opened at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.  It was much more than a collection of variety acts - it even had a plot, one that had never - well hardly ever - been used in musical theater - a world cruise.  It was the story of passion, intrigue, subterfuge, violence, sex, and S & M (no, no, not that, you dirty minded people).  S & M stood for Support-hose and Metamucil.  Since those elements didn’t seem to get the undivided attention of the audience, the show simply reverted to zany humor and wonderful characters.  In fact the story line was so complex, the writers were still trying to unravel it at Showtime.

Some 100 showed up for the first try-outs, and ninety made the stage as the forces of good and evil collide on the world voyage of the SS Wrinkles.

The good: Mother Marcus and Sister Torrance (Mary Petzold and Chris Brewis-Roberts), nuns who seek Papal permission to open a gambling casino, for charity of course.  Evil is personified in the persons of Charlie and Joe (Vaude deVille and Bill Dergan) jewel thieves, stowaways, and all-around baddies.  Throw in a little shipboard romance (Margaret McFarland and Walt White) and an ensemble of accomplished singers and dancers, and you have the makings of a lively and joyous adventure on the high seas.

Visualize the million dollar performances of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in "Some Like it Hot."  Reduce the price to a buck ninety-five and you've got Dergan and deVille in drag - a pair who'd take last place in a kennel club show where one of the prequalifications is terminal mange.

This is a show of many features.  First of all remarkable sets, all designed by the indispensable Lyle Russell.  Lavish costumes as dancers hoof with incredible energy to such beats as "Shakin’ the Blues Away", the "Mexican Hat Dance", "42nd Street", and an utterly graceful Tahitian hula, performed in part under black lights and everything.  WOW Choral numbers are interspersed throughout, among them classy renditions of "Harbor Lights" and "Vaya con Dios", songs that should grace any world cruise.  Featured songs include "Stormy Weather" (Joan Forst), "Climb Ev’ry Mountain" (Mary Petzold), "Someone to Watch over Me" (Margaret McFarland), "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" (Joanie Roper) and an outstanding rendition of "Hey, Mambo" as the ship arrives in Naples.  There are even bagpipes, enough to bring a smile to anyone's Scottish ancestors.  One showstopper is "Salve Regina", a religious song, that suddenly becomes a swingin’ number that must have them tapping their toes at the gates of Heaven.  Having stirred the spirits above, all patriotic spirits are uplifted with a resounding medley of good old Yankee tunes as the good ship Wrinkles passes along side the Statue of Liberty.

Heaven looks benevolently upon the good Sisters - the crooks reform, turn their ill-gotten goods over to the Sisterhood, and even agree to operate the casino for free! But then, with Wrinkles, good always triumphs. May it be ever thus.

You may "click" on the photos to see a larger one.

Photo from the Fall 1995 show Photo from the Fall 1995 show Photo from the Fall 1995 show
Photo from the Fall 1995 show Photo from the Fall 1995 show Photo from the Fall 1995 show
Photo from the Fall 1995 show Photo from the Fall 1995 show Photo from the Fall 1995 show
Photo from the Fall 1995 show Photo from the Fall 1995 show Photo from the Fall 1995 show

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