There’s always been something about the 1960s that fascinated me. The changing fashions; the fact that people went out dancing; the idea that young people went out and protested in the street …
There’s always been something about the 1960s that fascinated me. The changing fashions; the fact that people went out dancing; the idea that young people went out and protested in the street for things they believed in; and above all the glorious music from bubble gum pop to Motown groups to rock ‘n’ roll.
It helped that growing up my sister and I listened religiously to Sunny 105 (now Classic Hits 105.3) with my parents. We grew up in the 90’s but we thought it was 1969 for most of our childhood. So getting a chance to see Beehive: The 60’s Musical at the Forestburgh Playhouse was truly a treat! I spent most of the evening silently singing along to the wonderful performances of classic songs all made popular by female musicians and girl groups.
One of the best things about the show was the showcase of powerhouse voices in the female members of the resident company. Crystal Renée Wright, in my opinion, brought the house down with her performances of “River Deep/Proud Mary” embodying Tina Turner, and “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.” Wright has the control of a powerful voice, and when she soars she really soars and takes the audience with her. She was splendid.
Liat Shuflita also gave a rousing rendition of “Cry Baby” as Janis Joplin, and brought tears to my eyes singing in “Abraham, Martin, and John” along with Sydney Jaye, Elise Shangold and Susan Wickstrom. I’ve heard the song many times but this year it really hit me. The music of the 1960s may be timeless, but the messages of the civil rights movement and the women’s liberation movement are just as timeless. It reminds me that some of the issues we watched spark over the past year are deep rooted and we’ve fought for them before. And great leaders died trying to make the world a better place.
Logan Saad was a delight to listen to and to watch dance. She is a gem onstage, and I found that whatever number she was in I was drawn to her performance whether she was “romancing” her crush in “Be My Baby” or belting out “Son of A Preacher Man.” She made every dance onstage look so effortless.
Sydney Jaye’s performances of “One Fine Day” and “Academy Award” had my toes tapping, and she was a wonderful backup singer throughout most of the show. She looked like she was having just as much fun as the audience did.
Elise Shangold was our narrator throughout the night, guiding us through the music and the path of growing up with it, and gave high energy performances leading “Then He Kissed Me” and “The Beehive Dance”. Susana Wickstrom knocked “My Boyfriend’s Back” out of the park, and also shone on “Somebody to Love” with Jaye and Saad.
I also have to give a shout out to Costume Designer Ashleigh Poteat who helped us “move” through the 60s with the clever costume changes from demure schoolgirl dresses to miniskirts and hippie clothes. It was so much fun to watch the clothing and hairstyles change along with the music.
Beehive was creatively staged in the Tavern at the Forestburgh Playhouse complete with records hanging from the ceiling and a wall covered with photos of 1960s heartthrobs. The set design and the intimate performance space made you feel as if you were being welcomed into the pack of teenage girls portrayed by the female members of the resident company.
I know I remembered the days of singing into a hairbrush microphone, school crushes, first love and heartbreak, teenage rebellion, and the end of childhood innocence. My mother has always said the songs of the 1960s are timeless and I think this show proves that. I think it doesn’t matter when you were born, in 1950 or 1990 this music can make you remember all those big feelings you didn’t know how to voice. It was nice to find a song that expressed just how you were feeling.
With beautiful solos, riveting dances, and stellar harmonies, Beehive: The 60’s Musical is a wonderful way to spend a summer night with its different take on the Jukebox Musical. Beehive: The 60’s Musical continues to play in the Tavern at the Forestburgh Playhouse through July 25th at 8 pm Tuesdays through Sundays, and with matinees at 2 pm on Wednesdays and 3 pm on Sundays.
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