Aretha, Janis, Tina…
text by Tyler Phillips photos by Reg Madison Photography
Phoenix Theatre will rock the house with Beehive: The 60’s Musical! Kicking off their summer season with this high-power, all-female, all-fabulous musical is guaranteed to have your toes-tapping, singing along and, even possibly, dancing in the aisles.
Larry Gallagher’s musical revue is a lively and fun collection of songs that reveal the changing attitudes, musical styles and fashion that defined that tumultuous decade. The production pays tribute to the remarkable women who dominated the music industry in that era.
Directed by Michael Jenkinson ( Director for All Night Strut and Dr. Watson in Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery), this light-hearted song-and-dance showstopper stars six talented women. Back by popular demand are Chanel Bragg and Alyssa Chiarello – last seen in In The Heights, Katie Hart of Billy Elliot, Brittney Mack of All Night Strut and Ashley Stults of One Man, Two Guvnors. Rounding out the cast is Phoenix Theatre newcomer, Teshomech Olenja.
The show moves chronologically through the 60’s, beginning with the bubble gum playfulness and romantic yearnings of “The Name Game,” “One Fine Day” and “Sweet Talkin’ Guy.” As the political divide and civil unrest grow in the latter years, the music gains an edginess that mirrors the times with Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” and the powerful, defiant statement of Aretha Franklin demanding “Respect.” Once again we see the ability the arts have to express the cultural climate so adeptly.
Rest assured, the hits keep coming; Lulu’s “To Sir With Love,” Brenda Lee’s ”I’m Sorry,” Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party” and Patti LaBelle’s “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman.” There are rousing versions of Tina Turner’s “A Fool in Love” and “Proud Mary, several hits by Joplin and the Shirelles pre-sexual revolution question, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”
With musical backup provided by a scorching hot band, be prepared for plenty of dancing. The costumes are outrageous, topped by numerous wigs (over 40 will be used in this production) that require endless cans of hairspray.
This show is a party and you’re invited!