Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2017 by Tony Annicone
Asher Denburg is the musical director of this high energy musical entertainment. He conducts a 7 piece orchestra and makes the harmonies soar in the group numbers Russell's dance numbers capture the time period including the Twist, the swim, the mashed potato and the original performers signature moves, too. The talented cast is comprised of Alana Cauthen, Karissa Harris, Kendall Hope, Inuka Ivaska, Amanda Lea La Vergne and Merrill Peiffer. Russell gives each performer their moment to shine in this show. Alana Cauthen's belting voice is heard in "Academy Award" and in "Natural Woman" where she astounds the crowd as Aretha Franklin. Karissa mesmerizes the crowd in Act 2 as Tina Turner in "River Deep, Mountain High'' and "Proud Mary." Kendall shines in "It's My Party" and "Son of a Preacher Man." Inuka narrates a lot of the show and starts it off with the comic ""The Name Game" when each of the girls introduce themselves as well as the poignant opening of the second act "Abraham, Martin and John." The most versatile performer is Amanda who plays a comic dumbell for most of Act 1 and then turns on a dime in a poignant moment at the start of Act 2 when she describes the death of a friend in Vietnam. Her splendid voice is heard in "Where the Boys Are" and especially in "Somebody to Love." Merrill is astounding as Janis Joplin in "Try Just a Little Bit Harder" and "Me and Bobby McGee." I reviewed her before at Foothills Theatre in "Rocky Horror Show", "As Bees in Honey Drown" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" all directed by Russell. So for a marvelous way to start off the summer season at Theatre by the Sea, be sure to catch "Beehive", it will leave you remembering all the carefree days of the 1960's music. A word of praise to all the colorful costumes by Dana Pinkston.