BWW Review: There's Plenty to Buzz About in BEEHIVE
There's a certain youthful feeling you get from 1960s music. Just ask the rows of ladies in front of me, who giddily sang along, tapping each other on the shoulders and giggling like they were teenagers again.
Normally that would bother me, but it was just part of the vibe you get at Beehive: The 60s Musical, now showing at Lone Tree Arts Center.
Beehive, directed by Broadway vet Candy Brown, thrusts you back in time through what feels a bit like a variety hour. You've got 6 ladies: Jasmine (Piper Lindsay Arpan), Patti (Valerie Igoe), Alison (Karen Jeffreys), Laura (Melody Moore), Gina (Sheryl Renee) and Wanda (Sharon Kay White) who serenade you with everything from malt-shop bops to the rockers of Woodstock.
Wanda acts a bit like an emcee, which pairs perfectly with White's amiable demeanor. She and the other ladies rotate through classics like "The Name Game," "My Boyfriend's Back," "Be My Baby" and "Then He Kissed Me" with cute bits of choreo and background vocals. As we reach the latter half of the decade, a few of the women take on the decade's divas - like Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin (portrayed by Renee), Janis Joplin (by Jeffreys) and Grace Slick (by Moore).
But don't come for much of a story. While the show is peppered with historical facts, chronologically capturing the decade's cultural evolution, (including a somber tribute to the deaths of JFK and MLK, Jr), it's the evolution of the spectacularly vibrant costumes (by Kevin Copenhaver) and wigs (by Diana Ben-Kiki) that you want to watch. An excellent 6-piece live band sits onstage with the singers, adding to the variety show feel of the brightly toned set, designed by Kevin Nelson and lit vividly by Jen Kiser.
As the show reaches the height of the 60s, I became more enamored as the performances because less bubbly and a bit more raw. This is where I felt the ladies' vocals were at their strongest. You can't not quiver hearing live versions of "Proud Mary," "Cry Baby" and "Me and Bobby McGee."
You'll come in excited to hear the music, but you'll leave captivated with how these ladies perform it. Each vocalist is a powerhouse in her own right, perfectly matched with the songs they present.
It's more than just a showcase of the music of the 1960s, Beehive is a reminder of powerful women and how they've shaped our culture since. While the show might be a bit too optimistic in saying fair women's rights were just on the horizon, it sure shows how far we've come in 50 years.
Beehive: The 60s Musical continues through this Saturday, April 13, at Lone Tree Arts Center with matinee and evening performances. Tickets are available at LoneTreeArtsCenter.org