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Photos: BEEHIVE - THE '60s MUSICAL Opens Tomorrow Night At The Walnut

Beehive is a loving, rockin’ celebration of that era’s powerful female voices including Diana Ross, Janis Joplin, Carole King, Aretha Franklin, and more.

Walnut Street Theatre opens its 213th season with a rousing musical tribute to some of the greatest female voices of the 20th century in Beehive - The '60s Musical. Created by Larry Gallagher and directed and choregraphed by Richard Stafford, the production begins previews on September 28, opens October 6, and continues through October 31.

Beehive is a loving, rockin' celebration of that era's powerful female voices whose music stands the test of time - including Diana Ross, Janis Joplin, Carole King, Aretha Franklin, and Tina Turner. With over two dozen timeless hits, including "It's My Party," "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?," "Where the Boys Are," and "You Don't Own Me," the show takes audiences on a song-filled journey told from the perspective of six women coming of age during this unforgettable time, from their first Beehive Dance through a decade of change. Beehive - The '60s Musical will have everyone dancing in the aisles!

Walnut's production will feature six versatile actresses, both WST regulars and newcomers, who will bring the unforgettable songs of these iconic artists to the stage. Beehive creator Larry Gallagher first compiled the show's songs by researching the Top 10 records of the '60s week-by-week, as he wanted to explore the connection between social shifts like the women's movement and pop music of the time. ''The music reflected the change in the national mood,'' Gallagher said, having grown up in the 60's, "we went from... the lighter songs in the early part, to the more serious content of the later years.'' The first production ran in New York to positive critical response, with the New York Times calling it "pure, irresistible fun." It has enjoyed productions in regional theatres all over the country.

Award-winning Choreographer and Director Richard Stafford returns to the Walnut for his 16th production. His previous Walnut credits include directing and choreographing Legally Blonde, Mamma Mia!, Sister Act, Memphis, Curtains, Cats, and more, as well as choreographing La Vie en Blue, Evita, and La Cage Aux Folles. On Broadway, Stafford was choreographer for In My Life (Music Box Theatre), associate choreographer for Aspects of Love, and dance supervisor for Cats. In New York, he also worked as choreographer for Dear Erich (2019) and Stonewall (2019) at New York City Opera. His work has been seen at regional theatres across the country including North Carolina Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, Sacramento Music Circus, Westchester Broadway Theatre, and more. Chris Burcheri returns for his second season as the Walnut's Mainstage music director. During the 2019-2020 season, Burcheri took the podium to music direct Young Frankenstein and Shrek. Prior, Burcheri provided music direction for the WST for Kids series and served as the associate conductor on Annie and Holiday Inn.

Of the cast returning to the Walnut are Lindsey Bliven and Bonnie Kelly, who will be playing Alison and Pattie, respectively. Bliven was last seen at the Walnut as Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde and the titular flying nanny in Mary Poppins. Her work also includes national tours of Oklahoma!, A Chorus Line, and The Wizard of Oz. This time, audiences will get to hear Bliven sing such classics as "Where the Boys Are" and "Son of a Preacher Man." Audiences may remember Bonnie Kelly as the Sugar Plum Fairy, as she returns to the stage after playing the fairy-tale misfit in Shrek at the Walnut. Her other Walnut credits include Young Frankenstein, Holiday Inn, and The Wizard of Oz. Elsewhere, Kelly has been seen in national tours of Beauty and the Beast and A Chorus Line. In Beehive, Kelly will sing numbers like "My Boyfriend's Back" and "You Don't Own Me."

Ayana Major Bey will make her Walnut debut as Jasmine, leading musical numbers like "Come See about Me" and "Where Did Our Love Go." Bey's theatre credits include the 2019 Off-Broadway production of Tender Napalm as well as shows like Sister Act, Children of Eden, All's Well That Ends Well, Dreamgirls, and Hairspray. Also new to the Walnut is actress Felicia Boswell who will play Wanda, singing numbers that include "The Name Game" and "Walking in the Rain." Boswell's stage credits include Shuffle Along, Motown, and Memphis on Broadway and the national tours of Dream Girls and Aida. Boswell's TV credits include The Good Fight and Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE.

Philadelphia native Sara Gallo will make her Walnut debut as Laura. Gallo has been seen in regional theatres across the country, performing in shows like Matilda, Cinderella, and Prince of Egypt (Tuacahn); Evita and A Christmas Story (Fulton Theatre); and Mamma Mia! (The Muny). Audiences will hear Gallo sing Janis Joplin staples like "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" and "Cry Baby." Finally, Karissa Harris will also make her Walnut debut, playing Gina. Harris has previously played Gina in Riverside Theatre's production of Beehive. Her other theatre credits include Sister Act (Sacramento Music Circus), Dreamgirls and Hairspray (Fulton Theatre), and Tarzan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Tuacahn). In Beehive, Harris will sing classics like "River Deep, Mountain High" and "Sweet Talkin' Guy."

Helping to bring the '60s to the stage are Scenic Designer Brian Froonjian, who also serves as Walnut Street Theatre's technical director. Froonjian will be joined by Lighting Designer Matthew DeMascolo, who has lit shows at the Fulton Theatre such as Elf, Million Dollar Quartet and Little Shop of Horrors, and Sound Designer Damien Figueras (Meteor Shower, Thurgood). Giving the characters onstage the signature '60s look is Costume Designer Mary Folino (Shrek, Young Frankenstein, The Curious Incident...Night-Time, Matilda, Annie, Holiday Inn, South Pacific).

BEEHIVE - The '60s Musical runs at the Walnut September 28 through October 31. Open captioning will be available for the Sunday, October 17, 7pm performance. This production is sponsored by Sharon & Scott Rankin.

For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.com.

Photo Credit: Mark Garvin

Photos: BEEHIVE - THE '60s MUSICAL Opens Tomorrow Night At The Walnut
Felicia Boswell and Company

Photos: BEEHIVE - THE '60s MUSICAL Opens Tomorrow Night At The Walnut
Felicia Boswell and Company

Photos: BEEHIVE - THE '60s MUSICAL Opens Tomorrow Night At The Walnut
Lindsey Bliven, Karissa Harris as Tina Turner, and Ayana Major Bey

Photos: BEEHIVE - THE '60s MUSICAL Opens Tomorrow Night At The Walnut
The Company of BEEHIVE


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