BWW Reviews: A Big (If Slightly Context-Starved) BEEHIVE at Toby's Baltimore

A_Big_If_Slightly_ContextStarved_Helping_of_60s_Girl_Groups_and_Female_Pop_Singers_20010101

We Baltimoreans tend to think of the piled-high beehive hairdo as a uniquely local adornment of “hons,” especially hons from the Tracy Turnblad era, but the musical revue Beehive, currently revived at Toby’s Baltimore, proves otherwise.  Reportedly originated in 1960 in Illinois (not in the Free State), the beehive was profiled by more than one female pop star, and many of their fans, around the world, over the ensuing decade.  In one sense this makes it the perfect emblem of a nostalgia-fest concerning 60s pop music for female singers and their fans.  Fortunately for the show, however, Beehive does not confine itself to the beehive style or the music associated with it, instead following the evolution over a decade of pop for the female voice (and hair).  The strongest material in the show comes in the second act from singers – Tina Turner, Aretha, the Janises (Ian and Joplin), and Mama Cass – who were past the “girl group” style most associated with the beehive look, even though Aretha favored a beehive on her biggest album, and singers who had nothing to do with this kind of music, for instance Astrud Gilberto, were beehiving it up with the best of them.




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Jack L. B. Gohn A lawyer, blogger, and critic of many years’ standing, Jack is a regular columnist on public affairs and the law for the Maryland Daily Record. For several years he reviewed theater for the Baltimore Business Journal and books for the Baltimore Sun. His writings have appeared in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, as well as the Maryland and Georgetown Law Journals and other professional legal and literary publications. Check out his blog, www.thebigpictureandthecloseup.com . He is delighted to be reviewing theater once again.


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