In Beehive: The 60’s Musical, playing May 8-12 and 15-19 at the Kennedy Theatre in Raleigh, NC, as part of Theatre Raleigh’s 2019 Summer Series, creator and Off-Broadway director Larry Gallagher has created a wonderful musical history of the 1960s, one of this country’s least understood decades and, perhaps, most important. Gallaher, who died much too young, in September of 1988 at age 41, scrapes deeply beneath the skin of that period, relating the popular songs of the era and the historical upheavals with no other plot or conversation except the lyrics and some introduction to the songs.
For two people whose perspective of the 1960s is embedded in having come of age prior to them, Beehive is a terrific journey down a memory lane still as confusing as when it occurred. It was a necessary period of explosive change for African-Americans, women, the country’s view of politics, during which three gigantic assassinations occurred, a probable end to all life on earth was averted, and military service became unpatriotic to many.
Theatre Raleigh guest director Tim Seib and choreographer Sherry Lee Allen have put together a perfect cast, and move them around the complex set in graceful precision. The cast of six break up into various sets of twos, and threes, solos and full chorus sweeping from right to left and back, never creating the same formation. Wonderful visual composition.
Large videos of historic relevance are flashed onto large screens on either side of the stage from time to time, giving a realistic feel to the melodic memories. Scenic designer Chris Bernier has created a wide double tiered runway and stage for this cast to perform around on, with plenty of space to move from and to.
Costume design by LeGrande Smith follows the styles of the time, the first act being innocent, early high school look-alike attire. The second act becomes more individualized, with costumes inspired by Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, and such — and, of course, boots!
How could we have the outrageous hair-dos of the period — bouffants and beehives without wig designer Liz Printz?
The (live!) musicians — Dale Baker, Erik Riggs, Al Strong, Robbie Link, Michael Kennedy, and Albert Bolous, under the direction of Tracy Thomas — recreate authentic 1960s riffs and rhythms on time and in time. Great music!
Thirty-four songs that easily represent the most profound expressions of love, fear, loss, loneliness, and the problems of early teen-hood reverberate to the history they were written and sung in.
The six singers are astonishingly good. Among the pieces they do, your reviewers chose a favorite from each. Destiny Diamond (Jasmine) bangs out one great “One Fine Day”; Lydia D. Kinton (Laura) does Janice Joplin to a tee with “Cry Baby”; and Dakota Mackey-McGee (Alison) gives us a fine Leslie Gore singing “You Don’t Own Me.”
Yolanda Rabun (Wanda) is the narrator, and also superbly rings out Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary”. Dance captain Casey Wenger-Schulman (Pattie) covers Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man”, and Tyanna West (Gina) does Aretha Franklin up right with “Chain of Fools.”
In solo, in harmony, in duets, trios, ensemble, their voices blend and resonate, their actions are sexy and clean, their sense of ensemble all make this the hottest ticket in town. In these couple of weeks of graduations, Mother’s Day, and get togethers, this is great family entertainment.
SECOND OPINION: May 9th Raleigh, NC Triangle Arts and Entertainment review by Susie Potter: https://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2019/05/theatre-raleighs-beehive-the-60s-musical-is-hip-fresh-and-a-whole-lot-of-fun/; and May 6th Cary, NC RDU on Stage video interview with director Tim Seib and actress Dakota Mackey-McGee, conducted by Lauren Van Hemert : https://rduonstage.com/2019/05/06/video-theatre-raleighs-tim-seib-and-dakota-mackey-mcgee-talk-beehive-female-empowerment-and-more/.
Theatre Raleigh presents BEEHIVE: THE 60’S MUSICAL at 8 p.m. May 9 and 10, 2 and 8 p.m. May 11, 3 p.m. May 12, 8 p.m. May 15-17, 2 and 8 p.m. May 18, and 3 p.m. May 19 in the Sara Lynn and K.D. Kennedy, Jr. Theatre in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $35 ($32.50 students, seniors 65+, and active-duty military personnel), except $45 for premium seating.
BOX OFFICE: 919-832-9997, firstname.lastname@example.org, or https://theatreraleigh.secure.force.com/ticket/#details_a0S61000005W47CEAS.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-832-9997 or email@example.com.
SHOW: https://theatreraleigh.com/beehive-the-60s-musical/, https://www.facebook.com/events/2313841068884955/, and https://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/events/beehive-60s-musical-theatre-raleigh.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://youtu.be/N0h4c_8plHM.
2019 SUMMER SERIES: https://theatreraleigh.com/subscribe/.
PRESENTER: http://www.theatreraleigh.com/, https://www.facebook.com/TheatreRaleigh/, https://twitter.com/TheatreRaleigh, and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBrPHqUNhtfRMWQ2Ej8Fxeg.
Beehive: The 60’s Musical (1986 Off-Broadway musical): https://www.theatricalrights.com/show/beehive-60s-musical/ (Theatrical Rights Worldwide) and http://www.lortel.org/Archives/Production/1329 (Internet Off-Broadway Database).
The Script: https://sipikora.online/beehive-musical-script.pdf (Sipikora.Online).
Study Guide: http://www.repstl.org/assets/doc/M6-BEEHIVE-30e4bca3a8.pdf (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis).
Larry Gallagher (creator and Off-Broadway director): http://www.lortel.org/Archives/CreditableEntity/10819 (Internet Off-Broadway Database).
Tim Seib (Theatre Raleigh guest director): http://www.timseib.com/ (official website) and https://www.facebook.com/timseib (Facebook page).
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on Amazon.com. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori previously reviewed theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.