note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Carl A. Rossi
A’lisa D. Miles
Musical Director … Brian Whitted
Electric Bass; Electric Guitar … Kevin Grudecki
Drums … Steve Giunta
Reeds … William Byrne
Trumpet … Sheldon Ross
BEEHIVE: THE 60’S MUSICAL SENSATION has kicked off the Ogunquit Playhouse’s 74th season and is already one of the delights of this summer’s theatre-going: this joyous revue celebrates the girl- and women singers of the 1960s, not to mention their ever-changing hairstyles, clothing and social behavior. Most importantly, BEEHIVE captures the now-nostalgic sighs, hiccups, tears, wails and gospel-shouts that female throats once made on vinyl (yes, vinyl) and over the airwaves: the sounds are in place but not the historical context and if I’ve a nitpick, it is the homogenizing of an era where things were still quite, quite segregated --- here, four white and two black singers blend and interchange their songs with a casualness as false as it is wish-fulfilling; had the racial lines been drawn in the first half, the liberating second half --- properly color-coded --- would make better sense; after all, the seductiveness of 60s pop music helped to break down numerous barriers as well as pave the way for women to be heard first as singers and later, in the 70s, as composers (oddly, much of Act Two’s music draws from the latter decade).
Larry Gallagher has lovingly staged BEEHIVE, occasionally bringing it to Camp’s door but at no Flower Child’s expense (were 60s white girls really that drippy?), and his gifted ensemble reaps thunderous applause with each and every number, especially Marcie Henderson for her hilariously stuck-up Diana Ross and stunning Tina Turner (“Ha!”); A’lisa D. Miles and Aléna Watters’ soul-duet will send you into orbit.
Rounding out the Ogunquit season are CABARET, based on the recent Broadway revival and starring Andrea McArdle, Sally Struthers in HELLO, DOLLY!, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA with Boston’s Ryan Landry as the Wicked Stepmother, and MENOPAUSE: THE MUSICAL.