by Terrance V. Mc Arthur
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” “Proud Mary?” “Downtown?” “Respect?”
The Chiffons? Aretha Franklin? The Shirelles? Janis Joplin?
Ring a bell?
The music of the Sixties? The girl groups? The female stars from Tina Turner to
Annette Funicello? That high-rise hairdo called the Beehive?
Sound like something you’d like?
In that case . . . Have I got a show for you!
Beehive, the current show from the Good Company Players at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre, is a giddy, joyous review-style compilation of the great sounds of the Sixties, featuring the talents of a Magnificent Seven of wild women who take turns on the lead vocals.
Tami Cowger, who recently played Adelaid Adams in Calamity Jane, lends verve and power to songs like “The Name Game” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” She croons out a rendition of “To Sir With Love” that calls up memories of Lulu and the British Invasion.
Camille Gaston, a bright young talent, provides a lot of backup and narration, but she powers up for a me-centric Diana Ross & the Supremes medley that adds a chuckle to “Just See About Me.”
Teresa K. Gipson lit up the stage in CenterStage Clovis’ Big River, and was featured in GCP’s 2007 production of Beehive. Here she busts loose on “Respect,” Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” and “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman.”
GCP veteran Janet Glaudé has appeared in over 40 GCP productions in 30 years, spreading joy and entertainment whenever she unleashes that powerful voice, which she uses to great effect on “Academy Award” and a rousing “Proud Mary,” not to mention a turn as Aretha Franklin singing Do Right Woman.”
Astrid Plane, famous as the lead singer of the 80s group Animotion, booms out “Wishin’ & Hopin’” and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” from the Dusty Springfield repertoire. She also takes over the stage in 60’s Haight-Ashbury style, singing “Piece of My Heart” and “Ball & Chain” in a room-filling style that would do Janis Joplin proud.
Dorie Sanders is a petite package of performance power who can go from a powerful Petula Clark to a wistful “Society’s Child”-singing Janis Ian at the drop of a minor chord, and can go “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” like Brenda Lee.
The heavy lifting in the comedy department is handled by Kelly Brianne Hall in a strikingly red wig, except when she morphs into a Mickey Mousishly-buoyant Annette in a tuneful sketch that puts her with Lesley Gore, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee at a Christmas party. She can get good mirthful mileage out of doing battle with a super-slippery revolving stool.
Greg Gannis has quite a job in directing the proceedings, keeping all these strong personalities balanced and giving each chances to shine, although it might be easier because he did the same job for an earlier GCP version of the show.
Ginger Kay Lewis-Reed, costume designer par excellence, must have raided the warehouses of Simplicity and Butterick for patterns of the Sixties, outfitting her ladies in period-perfect frocks and creations that skewer the excesses of the era.
The Junior Company counters all of the Beehive girl-group glory with a round up of “manly” songs, including a “Little Drummer Boy” that fuses a Christmas choir with the percussion of “Stomp!”
Grab your can of Aqua-Net and your knee-high white go-go boots and Twist your way down to the Dinner Theatre for Beehive. It’s bee-utiful!
Beehive runs Thursdays through Sundays until January 13. Meal and show tickets are $45 to $49, while show-only prices are $29 to $37. For information, call 266-9494 or 800-371-4747. Learn more on their KRL event page. Tickets can now be purchased on the Roger Rocka’s website.
Check out KRL’s review of Dad’s Christmas Miracle on stage at GCP’s 2nd Space.