Locally Created 'Wrinkles' Celebrates Women And Aging

By: Annemarie Della Morte

Topics: Local Theater

The cast of “Wrinkles.” COURTESY PHOTO


A combination of “two peas in a pod” and “opposites attract” is probably the best way to describe the writers of “Wrinkles the Musical.”

Naomi Turner and Wilderness Sarchild couldn’t be more different, and their work is absolute testimony to the notion that great minds don’t have to think alike to come together. Sarchild and Turner met in 1974 at a retreat coordinated by Sarchild.

“We met for lunch the next day, decided that we were friends, and have been working together ever since.” Sarchild said.

After their fates aligned, Sarchild, a licensed psychotherapist, and Turner, a professional dancer, began hosting a women’s retreat together.

These retreats become the origins of “Wrinkles the Musical,” a brand new theatrical production described as “a show within a show.” It will make its world premiere at the Cape Cod Theatre Company in Harwich on May 11.

The inception of the musical is a part of the plot. Two women from Massachusetts, Jane Star (played by Joanne Cullum) and wife Sally Adler (played by Paula Erickson) retire to Florida. They decide to put an ad in the paper inviting performers to join them in creating a performance. When several older women respond to the couple’s call “Wrinkles the Musical” is born.

Over an eight-year span, Turner, of Chatham, and Sarchild, a Brewster resident, brought women together to share their stories at “Lifedance Movement” workshops they led. The pair invited women ages 60 to 95 to tell their stories at these weekly retreats. The women shared personal experiences, their feelings on their intrinsic value, growing older and as women in general. These stories were channeled into skits, acts and dances.

“We workshopped and interviewed women ages 60 to 95. Every story is true, but you won’t know because we took over 100 women’s stories and made them into a composite.” Sarchild said about the musical.

More on “herstory” can be found on wrinklesthemusical.com, which serves as both a backdrop to the play and an homage to the people behind the musical.

Other than their friendship, what is absolutely evident upon meeting these creators is their devotion to womankind. “Wrinkles the Musical” shines a light on a sensitive subject which most people shy away from: getting old.

There is much musical talent backing the show, the bones of which were written as poetry. Sarchild’s poem “Hags and Crones” is carried throughout the theme of the performance and is the inspiration for the entire show.

Turner also contributed lyrics to the play, and is choreographing the show alongside Adam Spencer of Studio 878, Dottie Bean, Joanne Sinerate and Leda Muhana.

“Wrinkles the Musical” is already attracting incredible talent and resources. Composer Malcolm Granger and musician and performer Sarah Burrill wrote the music for the play. Grammy award winner Jason Howland is contributing music and lyrics as part of their creative team. Two businesses in Chatham, Violet’s and Jackie’s contributed much of the funding required for this production.

Cullum and Erickson will be joined on stage by Celeste Howe as “Valerie,” Sherrie Scudder as “Pam,” Sue Lindolm as “Louise,” Karen McPherson as “Beulah,” Karen Santos as “Diane,” Janice Bradbury Richmond as “Ancient” and Deb Stringham as “Ms. D” (with Dana McCoy as her swing). Dana McCoy, Dorothy Beaton and Marie Hayes are cast as chorus dancers.
With Nina Schuessler serving as hosting director, the Cape Cod Theatre Company will act as the platform for “Wrinkles the Musical” to stepup into the world.

“Our dream” Sarchild states, hands clasped above her heart “is to tour it around the country to 55-plus communities.”

Sarchild said she has a yin and yang relationship with Turner.

“We come from such different places that we definitely compliment each other,” she said.