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The Case of the Vanishing Wrinkles
WOW Fall 2000 Production

"Extra, extra, read all about it.  National Icon vanishes without a trace".  Dick Clark has disappeared, and it’s up to Tommy Gunn, assisted by detectives from the comic pages, radio, and television, to solve the mystery.  Mother’s Saloon is the scene of the action, where detectives, hoods, plotters, retired special agents and various Runyonesque characters gather to find Clark and the secret of eternal youth.  Once more Michele Penberthy and Terry Shaw merged their remarkable talents, this time joined by Helen Siegwarth as Choreographer.  The result was a plot full of twists and turns, odd-ball characters, torch songs and ballads intermingled with spectacular dances in which new love is found, and old love rediscovered.

This is a delightful amalgam of song and dance, enclosed in a riddle, wrapped in a paradox, and tied in a conundrum. As the plot wended its merry way it was augmented by wonderful dance numbers, two of which were truly spectacular.  If the "Devil Danced in Empty Pockets" provided a dazzling open to the second act.  It was later followed by grace in motion to "Alexander’s Ragtime Band."  Costuming for the latter was utterly gorgeous, and those who might wish to check it out are invited to take a peek at the first entry in the Photo Gallery, entitled Palm Springs Follies, who?  Wrinkles of Washington takes no back seat to its Southland cousins, either in terms of dance or grandeur.

The music was no less spectacular, ranging from hot to ballads to laments, and everything in between.  Among the hots were a super rendition of "St. Louis Blues" (Patty Kolstad and Norma Smith), "The Lady is a Tramp" (Frank Kinney), "Blues in the Night" (Mary Petzold), and "Orange Colored Sky" (Joanie Roper).  Joan Forst sizzled as she brought perspiration to the brows of the "Brotherhood of Man", and then sizzled some more when she and Mary Patnode and Julia Taylor as Harley’s Angels announced "I’ve Got a Crush on You" (Dick Clark).

Mary Margaret McFarland had noses and hearts a-drip as she sobbed "Adelaide’s Lament" in the finest tradition of Damon Runyon.  Surely one major highlight was the blend of two voices - instrumental and vocal - as Joanie Roper joined Bob Williams’ saxophone in a delightful version of "Smoke Gets in your Eyes."  Bud Newton proved he was not miscast as The Whistler when he amazed the audience with a most tuneful "Somewhere My Love."  And the ladies melted (at least Mary Patnode and Peg Wortman did) at the very notion that when Patrick Dougherty was crooning "You Are My Special Angel", he was singing it just to them.

Never to be outdone, the two Bills (Dergan and Siegwarth), sang and danced, respectively, to "Mention My Name" . . .  Bill Dergan the joined up with Mary Petzold, Joanie Roper, and Bob Williams in a rousing version of "It Don’t Mean a Thing" (if it ain't got that swing).

It was a stellar performance for Sonny Hemingway, whose voice was tragically silenced less than six weeks after the show closed. His performance as Schlosh was boffo, especially an all-too-brief scene with Don Hancock as Snooperman. He also demonstrated his resounding baritone voice with "Love is a Many Splendored Thing", a thought we all share with the hope that he is now singing in celestial splendor.

Like most Wrinkles of Washington productions, the denouement again proved that love conquers all, and given a chance, provides a joyful ending for friends and lovers.  The world’s oldest gumshoe and the Bucoda bimbette wind up in each other's arms. Dolly and Sudz discover happiness and joy in their "Secret Love."  And, in a stunning duet, James Phond and Ruby Begonia find that the answer to "All I Ask of You" is yes, yes, yes!

Perhaps the greatest hope comes from two of the main chorus numbers.  "We Got a lot of Livin’ to Do" could well be the dominant theme of the Wrinkles ensembles.  The opening tune, "Another Openin’, Another Show" served not only as the prelude to fun and frolic in "The Case of the Vanishing Wrinkles", it also holds the promise that "Another Openin’" isn't too far down the road.  Now there’s something that can’t come too soon!

Major Characters


Tommy Gunn (the world’s oldest gumshoe)

Ron Lemmen

Dolly Varden (spurned by Tommy, lookin’ for love)

Mary Margaret McFarland

Brenda Barr airhead bimbette who’s got what it takes.  But what does it take?)

Joanie Roper

Mother (devious owner of the joint)

Frank Kinney

Dr. Wrinkleoff (Clark’s formula is a threat)

Bill Johnson

Scarface and Baby Face (Wrinkleoff’s hoods)

Bill Siegwarth
Bill Dergan

Sudz Terkel (bartender, sees all, knows all)

Lyle Russell

Ruby Begonia (torch singer about to pass the torch)

Mary Petzold

Lieutenant Kalumpo (well, duh)

Vaude deVille

Lenny G (the saxiest man in town)

Dr. Robert Williams

Friar Phlatt (aka James Phond, aka Agent 695, marked down from 007)

Patrick Dougherty

Cecil Schlosh (drunk, but not entirely what he seems)

Sonny Hemingway

Snooperman (a cameo that Wrinkles of Washingtoned ’em)

Don Hancock

Wendell the Waiter (or is he really THE WHISTLER)

Bud Newton

"St. Louis Blues" Auditioners

Patty Kolstad
Norma Smith

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

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