Akin to stepping back in time, Theatre Raleigh’s Beehive: The 60’s Musical, directed by Tim Seib and choreographed by Sherry Lee Allen, is a wild, fun ride that all viewers- whether they’re 60s music enthusiasts or not- are sure to enjoy. The production takes viewers through each step, change, and major event in this pivotal decade while offering lots of fun and nostalgia along the way.
The show begins with mood and era-setting video clips projected onto the set walls. Old commercials and glimpses of John Wayne and John F. Kennedy easily transport viewers back in time. And then, out come the performers. A lively female cast, each decked out in matching-but-different 60s dresses in a variety of colors, take the stage. And, from that moment on, this energized, always-moving cast keeps the viewers’ attention throughout.
Feisty, strong-voiced Wanda (Yolanda Rabun) leads the cast as they transition from one 60s hit to another with ease and gusto. And it’s not just the ladies who are singing either. A healthy dose of audience participation is encouraged, which keeps the energy high and the fun flowing. And, speaking of fun, there are plenty of standout, great-time moments that happen throughout this fast-moving musical. Case in point, the “My Boyfriend’s Back” number features the entire cast singing and engaged in an adorable pillow fight. But the top moment of the night would have to be when Pattie, hilariously portrayed by the show-stealing Casey Wenger-Schulman, singles out an audience member to passionately (and maybe a little stalker-ly) sing “Baby I Love You” to.
Of course, like the decade itself, this musical isn’t all fun and light. The second act starts on a more somber note, covering the deaths of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. However, happy changes, such as the increasing freedom and rights of women, are covered as well, marked often by clever costume and hair changes.
As time (and the show) marches on, there are almost too many musical standouts to name. Destiny Diamond exhibits great stage presence as “Jasmine” and really nails the “Natural Woman” number while Lydia D. Kinton’s “Laura” offers great tenderness and a rich voice during “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and “Abraham, Martin, and John,” and then turns around and pulls off a perfect, throaty Janis Joplin with “Cry Baby.”
Blending girl power, great music, complex choreography, and great, very alive energy, this production is a wonderful and surprisingly refreshing treat that is easy to fall in love with.
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