BWW Review: BEEHIVE at Seven Angels Theatre

BWW Review: BEEHIVE at Seven Angels Theatre

On Saturday, January 20, I had the pleasure of seeing BEEHIVE at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, CT. This musical is a retrospective on some of the finest songs of the 1960s that were sung by women. The cast of six extremely talented women are accompanied by an excellent four piece band of men, who sit elevated behind the singers on the stage.

From the moment I walked into the theatre, I was impressed with the colorful set that depicts a 1960s concert stage. The band and the cast make it clear right from the start that they are enjoying performing in this production. Their positive energy radiates forth to the audience.

The six cast members play the roles of themselves, going by their real names, putting on the retrospective concert. "The Name Game" is used to introduce five of them, from the beginning. Throughout the course of the show, however, the singers take on the names, personalities, and voices of different real singers from the 1960s.

The show starts with songs from the early 1960s, and progresses to later times within the 1960s, throughout the show. Erin West Reed comes across as the leader, narrating to the audience, describing musical events of the 1960s, as well as other significant events that helped shape the landscape of the time.

In Act 1, Erin and the other singers have beehive hairstyles. Not everyone is on stage for every musical number, as many costume changes occur throughout the show. In Act 2, the singers have their longer hair down, which gives them a quite different appearance from Act 1.

Amy Bentley's talents shine during Act 1, in a great performance of the Shangri Las' "Remember(Walkin' in the Sand), and in playing the role of Lesley Gore, singing "It's My Party," "You Don't Own Me," and "Judy's Turn to Cry," while crying during other songs that were interspersed, between her songs.

Brittany Mulcahy takes on the role of Brenda Lee, and sings "I'm Sorry," under the impression that she was responsible for Lesley Gore's crying. Brittany Mulcahy soon comes out again, as Connie Francis and sings, "Where The Boys Are."

Chelsea Dacey, who is always entertaining, plays Annette Funicello for the song "I Dream About Frankie," but is primarily a backup singer, in this production, showcasing her impressive synchronized dancing skills, along with Patricia Paganucci who coordinates well with Chelsea, both in dancing and singing backing vocals.

Samantha Rae Bass has an excellent stage presence, singing lead (Diana Ross) on Supremes songs in Act 1, while playing Aretha Franklin in part of Act 2. Her greatest moments come in Act 2 when she belts out Tina Turner songs, as Tina Turner, and dazzles the whole audience with her strong voice and excellent stage antics that really bring Tina Turner's music to life, a definite musical highlight to the show.

Brittany Mulcahy provides another musical highlight in Act 2, as she sings a song that I must admit, I never heard before, possibly because its controversial subject matter(an interracial American couple in the 1960s) led to the banning of the song on numerous radio stations, at the time. The song is called "Society's Child," and was originally recorded by Janis Ian, who I must also admit, I never heard of before. The song was amazing, and Brittany Mulcahy's delivery and facial expressions sold every word of it, to the point where the audience could feel her emotions.

Erin West Reed intersperses historical information with singing "The Beat Goes On," at the beginning of Act 2, a very impressive performance. The absolute musical highlight, however, comes towards the end of Act 2. Erin West Reed takes on the identity of Janis Joplin, and performs "Cry Baby," in such an amazing way that you would think Janis Joplin was right in front of you, performing live. Erin West Reed completely nails Janis Joplin's voice, and movements, while costumed to look like Janis Joplin. The fact that we had heard Erin West Reed sing numerous other songs, before this one, and know that her normal singing voice sounds nothing like Janis Joplin makes this Janis Joplin impersonation all the more impressive.

I highly recommend BEEHIVE, which is appropriate for all audiences, whether you existed in the 1960s, or whether these songs were before your time, as is the case for the six singers and me.

BEEHIVE is scheduled to continue to run through Sunday, January 28. For tickets and times, please go to Tickets.

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From This Author Sean Fallon

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