Make a beeline to “Beehive: The 60’s Musical” at Princess Theatre on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Buzz about ‘Beehive’
Hum along with groovy musical revue of classic ’60s songs
By Andrea Brunty
Take a trip down memory lane Thursday as a six-women ensemble buzzes through 40 classic songs in a tribute to the groovy decade’s girl groups and soloists in “Beehive: The 60’s Musical.”
The two-hour musical revue will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts.
Twenty-four-year-old Patrice Covington, the queen bee herself, pulls the show together as its narrator.
“It’s my fantasy world, and I’m telling you how I see things, which is pretty much what every girl was feeling in the ’60s,” she said.
The high-impact, high-energy show looks back at early hits like The Angels’ “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles.
“At the beginning of the ’60s, everybody was uniform and very prim and proper in girl groups like The Angels, The Shangri-Las, The Chiffons and The Supremes,” Covington said.
As the decade ended, female soloists took back their individuality with songs like Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and “A Natural Woman” to the British invasion and Janis Joplin’s performance at Woodstock. The show closes with “Mama Cass” Elliot’s “Make Your Own Kind of Music.”
“Everybody comes into their own creativity,” she said, and women began to find their voice.
Not only were the decade’s changes evident in the hair-raising fashions, but the music also reflects the changing times with songs like “Society’s Child,” about a teenager dating an African-American.
“The music started to change because of what was going on in society with things like the civil rights movement and JFK’s assassination and the war,” she said.
Audience members appreciate the song “The Beat Goes On,” which Covington sings.
“One of the things we hear the most from the audience is how they really do remember what they were doing when JFK was assassinated,” she said.
Because the cast members range in age from 21-28, “none of us really know that experience. ... but something that we can compare it to is 9/11,” she said.
Their age doesn’t affect their performance, Covington said, because all the women are actresses as well as talented singers.
“We’ve heard several stories, and we have parents and family members who have been through those times,” she said. “We pull it off.”
To be able to dance the choreographed moves perfectly, the young entertainers watched videos of old performances on YouTube.
“A lot of these songs are classics. You can’t help but know some of them,” she said.
As Covington sings a few bars of “The Name Game,” Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party” and Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary,” a glimpse of the show’s spunky revival shines through.
Even the audience sings along, she said, and the performers can see their feet tapping and heads bobbing from the stage.
“It’s a family show ... Everybody knows the songs — it doesn’t matter how old you are, kids and senior citizens and everybody in between” will enjoy it, she said.
“We have a dynamic impersonator of Janis Joplin,” Covington said. “She is definitely our eleven o’clock number and the crowd favorite.”
As the musical numbers grow to new heights, the teased hair towers over the singers. More than 50 wigs were created to showcase the decade’s mane movement from bobby-pinned and lacquered to free-flowing and natural.
“They’re huge, and they’re definitely huge assets to the show,” Covington said.
And while the wig-clad singers belt out nostalgic melodies on stage, a beehive of activity is stirring behind the curtains (including thick clouds of aerosol hairspray).
“I’m running around like a crazy person backstage,” she said, laughing. “It’s definitely a team effort on and off the stage.”
At one point Covington has five people helping her make a speedy costume change in about 10 seconds.
“It’s what we do, and I can’t imagine going on stage as anything else,” Covington said. “That’s part of our character, part of our performance to use all those things to create this time and this era on stage.”
If you go
Tickets are $25-$40. Visit princesstheatre.org or call 340-1778.
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