Opening night for the show, which uses more than 30 songs written by Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, is Jan. 27, 2005. The plot is not a biographical tale of the blond-mopped California band that celebrated cars, girls and surfing in the 1960s. Instead, it follows a group of high school pals desperate to escape their one-factory, New England town and drive to California. Problem is: no car. So, knowing that the mousy, less-than-popular—and car-owning—valedictorian has a crush on one of the guys in question, they invite her along. Presto. They have a car.
"The show is this kind of fantasy of California. When it's February and you're snowbound in New England, that's what you want to think about, an endless summer," said the show's book writer, Richard Dresser.
Rounding out the cast are Tracee Beazer, Heath Calvert, Janet Dacal, Tom Deckman, Sarah Glendening, Milena Govich, Chad Kimball, Amanda Kloots, John Jeffrey Martin, Jesse Nager, David Reiser, Jackie Seiden, Allison Spratt, Carlos L. Encinias, Vasthy Mompoint, Steve Morgan and Krysta Rodriguez.
Reinders plays the duped lovesick girl. "Caroline was the girl you knew in high school who was friends with everybody but didn't necessarily fit in," she explained. "She's very smart, very involved, very ambitious, definitely her own person. She wasn't cool in high school. But, of course, high school isn't the real world. But Bobby [played by David Larsen], who wouldn't look at her twice in high school, finds out on the road trip that maybe she's worth paying attention to." Dresser and Carrafa said the most difficult part of shaping the show was selecting the tunes to tell that iconic tale. "That was a huge part of it," said Dresser, "because The Beach Boys have a giant catalogue. It was this huge gift to kind of pick through this catalogue. There are some songs you need to do, that people are expecting to hear. The challenge was how to tell the story with the songs, which weren't written to advance a story. So we use some lesser-known songs."
"We went from both directions," added Carrafa. "Sometimes we just made a song list and said, 'Well, this song seems like a good Act Two opener.' And then sometimes we did an outline for the story. And then we started to put those two things together and see where songs worked, where songs didn't work."
A recent production of the musical was presented at the New York Stage & Film on the campus of Vassar College. That staging featured David Larsen and Justin Guarini, runner-up in the first "American Idol" TV competition.
Producers for the Broadway production include NCJ Productions (Nina Keneally, Cathleen Murphy, Jamie Lightstone) with Michael Watt and Dodger Stage Holding.