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BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's BEEHIVE: THE 60S MUSICAL


Baby boomers will definitely get a kick out of this.

BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's BEEHIVE: THE 60S MUSICAL

Beehive: The 60s Musical is a revue that celebrates the powerful female voices of the 1960s with such timeless hits as 'My Boyfriend's Back', 'Be My Baby', 'Son of a Preacher Man', and 'Me and Bobby McGee'. Told from the perspective of six young women who come of age in this enigmatic decade, Beehive takes us from their first Beehive Dance to the challenges we faced as a nation.

When it comes to musicals that utilize a pre-existing song catalogue, there are two types that usually come to mind most. There are jukebox musicals like Mamma Mia! where the book writer must come up with a completely original plot that involves the characters singing songs that were already made famous by somebody else. There are biographical musicals like Jersey Boys where the book writer takes the backstory of the people behind the music, and condenses it into a theatrical narrative. However, one type that I don't think gets the recognition it deserves is a revue. Beehive not only perfectly fits into that category, but playwright Larry Gallagher also crafted a thread that reflects on how America was moving forward as it went through the 1960s.

As for Raleigh Little Theatre's production, director/choreographer Lormarev Jones has all of the action staged in and around a malt shop (which is neatly visualized by scenic designer Elizabeth Newton) where each member of the six person ensemble takes center stage throughout the show's 80 minute duration. Every single one of them also have their own individual moments where they deliver such terrific renditions of classic hits from way back when. In fact, some of the tunes heard here have also been utilized in other jukebox/biographical musicals such as Jersey Boys, Beautiful, Ain't Too Proud, and Tina.

Angelica Bridges as Jasmine also portrays Diana Ross of The Supremes, Judy Craig of The Chiffons, and Tina Turner. Therefore, she gets to perform energetic renditions of 'Come See About Me' and 'One Fine Day' as well as a strong rendition of 'Proud Mary'. Natasha Gore as Gina also plays Aretha Franklin (how ironic that this production is taking place around the same time as the new movie, Respect starring Jennifer Hudson as The Queen of Soul, is released in theaters). In any case, she gives a strong rendition of 'Chain of Fools'. Rose Higgins as Laura also portrays Janis Joplin, where she gives a powerhouse rendition of 'Me and Bobby McGee'. Natalie Turgeon as Wanda actually carries a good chunk of the narrations throughout the show, and is able to keep the audiences' attention at all times very well. Kimberly Genna Bryant as Allison and Jessica Landwehr as Pattie both also do great work with not only their solos, but also participating as backup singers in certain numbers.

Overall, I found Beehive to be a fun and entertaining musical tribute to the ladies who left their mark on the music scene in the 1960s. Amazing energy from the cast onstage to the seven-piece band (led by music director Mary Kathryn Walston) in the pit. No matter how familiar you are with any of the songs heard in the show, they should still leave you dancing in your seats. This production is currently playing at Raleigh Little Theatre's Louise "Scottie" Stephenson Amphitheatre through August 28th.

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From This Author Jeffrey Kare