New Revue buzzes in and out of 60s and 70s music at Cape Playhouse

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From left, the cast of "Beehive"; Kearran Giovanni, Danielle Chambers, Jennifer Zimmerman, Laiona Michelle, Lindsey Gordon, Bridget Beirne. Photo by Kathleen A. Fahle

 

"Beehive" Stings Dennis Audiences with Sixties Nostalgia
Revue buzzes in and out of 1960s music

                                    By Libby Hughes, Cape Cod Today Theatre Critic

1960s_1346The Cape Playhouse takes a bite out of the sixties with the musical revue, "Beehive." The show strikes a note of nostalgia for those into Rock n' Roll, teenyboppers, Beatle-mania, and Woodstock's hippie-flower power.

Two hit musicals straddle July and August

At the peak of the summer season, the Playhouse has wisely straddled July and August with two musicals-Thoroughly Modern Millie  and Beehive. The latter is a no-brainer. Six young women sing their hearts out through a beehive of 33 songs (getting the rights to all those ditties must have cost a pretty penny!) and entertain the socks off the audience on opening night. They had a standing ovation to prove it.

Created in 1985

A young man by the name  of Larry Gallagher created the show and premiered it in 1985 at the Sweetwater Cabaret in New York City before sending it on a national tour. Sadly, his death at the age of 41 was a great loss to the theatrical and musical world. Through dialogue and song, Gallagher gives a historical perspective of the 1960s with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the Beatles, and the rising freedom and power of women beginning at Woodstock.

Irony of  Vietnam and Iraq

The irony is that Americans are going through the same sort of agony with the Iraq War as they did over the Vietnam War where 57,000 American lives were sacrificed. The Iraq War is fast approaching 4,000 losses since March of 2003.

Music is the great liberator and comforter. What will be the music of the post-Iraq War?

Six girls have Broadway sounds

Every one of the six female singers has a Broadway sound for punching out a strong show-tune. But Laiona Michelle is the glue for the group. She lights up the stage and leads them from one song to the next, tying it all together. Her sultry, sexy, alto-mezzo voice has power-sensational power. Lindsey Gordon is cute, perky, and funny. Kearran Giovanni has stage charisma as well as vocal prowess. Bridget Beirne catches the flavor of the long-haired hippie girl, soaring high on pot and booze. Jennifer Zimmerman and Danielle Chambers are equally charming as rockers.

Familiar songs for Baby Boomers

Whether solo, duo, trio, quartet or a sextet, the girls were on pitch and in perfect harmony. You'll recognize all the songs such as "I'm Sorry," "You Don't Own Me," "Downtown," and "Where the Boys Are (A Connie Francis song)." The second half of the show is built musically around the emergence of the Women's Movement.

Fabulous Choreography

But it is to Mark Martino where much of the applause belongs. His direction and choreography are unmistakable. He gives those girls enough stage business and humor to keep the audience interested for two hours. They pump and chop the air with their arms or swing them in circles from the elbows or roll their fists in a rolling pin motion. Their legs are shaking and strutting every minute. And vocally, they go up and down the scale like roosters hooting or hiccupping--all part of the sixties scene and sound.

Superb, opulent costumes and phenomenal wigs

Along with Martino, kudos go to costume designer Jose Rivera whose psychedelic mini-skirts and tops in lime, peach, fuchsia, and pink are period colors along with rich sultry, sparkly blacks and bronzes. The  1960 beehive wigs are almost as "high as an elephant's eye!" Richard Chambers' set has the jukebox look, complemented by Christopher Chambers' stunning lighting.

Music packs a wallop

And the band never lets up under the direction of Tom Frey, who also plays the piano and synthesizer as well as singing and conducting his four guys onstage.

For a summer pleaser, "Beehive" is a good one. Performances run July 30 through August 11, Monday through Saturday at 8:00pm. Matinees Wednesday at 2:00pm, Saturday 8/4 at 4:00pm, Thursday 8/9 at 2:00pm. The Cape Playhouse is located on Route 6A in Dennis. Box office: 508-385-3911.

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