BWW Review: BEEHIVE turns back the clock at Mill Town Players

BWW Review: BEEHIVE turns back the clock at Mill Town Players

Beehive, now playing at Mill Town Players in Pelzer, SC, turns back the clock to spotlight the girl groups of the sixties. With five talented singers backed by a crack five-piece band, Beehive features hit song after hit song presented on a gorgeous stage with delightful costumes. And hair. Yes, there's some really great hair.

The five women each play a named character, but there's no real plot beyond the evolution of music - and fashion - over that tumultuous decade.

Celia Blitzer leads the ensemble as Peggy, a sort-of storyteller reminiscing about the ways her life changed as the decade wore on. Blitzer has a lovely voice and comforting presence that suits the role, shining in the many group numbers as well as soloing in songs like "To Sir With Love."

Ashley Wettlin brings a bubbly personality and presence to the role of Jackie. She has one of the show's first solo spotlight moments, a winning version of "It's My Party," and later knocks it out of the park on "Where the Boys Are."

Meris Privette is positively effervescent as Allison, especially as she leads 'You Can't Hurry Love" and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." In the second act, as feel-good girl group music gives way to the harder edge of the late sixties, Privette delivers an outstanding performance of "Somebody to Love."

The second act is also where we see the best of the show's other two performers. Beverly Clowney, as Gina, absolutely kills with her full Tina Turner-ized "Proud Mary" as well as a soulful Aretha Franklin-style "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." And Tiffany Nave, as Shelley, demonstrates her amazing range, both as a vocalist and as a performer. She opens act two sitting quietly on stage to deliver a tender and emotional version of the folk song "Abraham, Martin, and John" and later finishes the show with a blistering and dynamically physical three-song set as Janis Joplin that brought the house down.

Director/choreographer Kimberlee Ferreira was a perfect choice for this material, shaping it well and giving the women a great balance between tight dance moves and more loose, free-formed emotional moments. She's also got a great technical crew backing her, including musical directors Joshua and Hannah Morton, lighting designer Tony Penna, and a wonderful set from scenic designer Will Ragland. And a special shout-out goes to Katie Halstengard who not only served as production manager but also put together the terrific costumes. Act two, in particular, is as much fun to look at as it is to hear.

And speaking of sound, as marvelous as the vocals are, they wouldn't be near as effective without the fantastic backing band: Russ Chapman on bass, Robert Johnson on drums, Tim Lee on guitar, Alan Nowell on sax, and McKelvie Wilder on keys.

Beehive is a feel-good journey that will get your head bobbing and your toes tapping. And the beat goes on.


BEEHIVE: THE 60S MUSICAL

July 20 - Aug 12

Thurs - Sat 7:30pm, Sun 3pm

Mill Town Players

Historic Pelzer Auditorium

214 Lebby Street

Pelzer, SC 29669

www.milltownplayers.org

(864)947-8000

Tickets are only $10, with discounts for seniors, military, and students, and can be purchased online at www.milltownplayers.org, by calling (864)947-8000, or at the door.

Photo credit: Escobar Photography

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From This Author Neil Shurley

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