Beehive: Female Voices of the Sixties Revisited
SAN ANGELO, TEXAS – Friday night, the San Angelo Civic Theater (ACT) opened its three-weekend show “Beehive: The 60’s Musical.” Performed by a small cast of seven and a four-member band group, this musical is sure to bring you to your feet with renditions of cult favorites such as Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, You Don’t Own Me, and Society’s Child.
During the sixties and early seventies, American society experienced a revolution. It was the time of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights protests, the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the Beatles. It was a time during which young people wanted to make their voices heard, and music became a popular form of expression.
However, up until the sixties many musical acts were male and the music scene remained primarily dominated by male acts. When American society began to rift over the Vietnam War and civil rights issues, a steady stream of female vocal artists emerged on the music scene. First, came the smaller musical groups such as The Shirelles, The Supremes, and The Chiffons. By the mid-sixties Aretha Franklin, Janice Joplin, Janis Ian, and Tina Turner had made their mark on the music scene.
“Beehive: The 60’s Musical,” written in the mid-eighties by Larry Gallagher, takes America’s history and "runs chronologically from beehive hair-doos to long skirts to free-flowing hair and hippie fashions,” says BackStage. Suzy Roberts, director of “Beehive,” is excited to work on this musical, which allows her to illustrate how the “[female singers] started to come into their own.”
The cast is comprised of all females, and the tech staff is predominately female, too. Elizabeth Holland, technical director, says the set and lighting has a simple theme with a lot of black and white to keep “the feel of the sixties and keep a lot of attention on the girls in the scene.” Keeping the set simple assures that the focus stays on the women, their music, and their messages.
The actresses’ ages range from the mid-twenties to the mid-sixties. Two cast members, Tonya Gutierez and Yvette Sherman, are returning to the Civic Theater. They played in “Beehive” in 1996/1997, when the musical was first performed in San Angelo. Today though, “we’re doing it more as a tribute to the artists [The Shirelles, The Supremes, Janis Joplin, etc.] and we are honoring them,” Sherman said.”
Julie Hamil, another actress, gave some facts to bring to light the importance of the female singers in the sixties, “750 girl groups recorded a song between 1960 and 1966;” and one of the groups portrayed in “Beehive,” The Supremes, became one of the most successful music groups in American music history with “12 number one songs on the Billboard Hot 100 list,” Julie Hamil added.
This musical is not only exciting and funny, but it is also a homage to the great women in music. It remains one of the most important celebratory musicals on female empowerment.
For those ready to take a trip down memory lane, performances are June 2nd, June 3rd, June 9th, June 10th, June 16th, & June 17th at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees are June 4th, June 11th, & 18th at 2 p.m. Tickets are $19 for Adults and $17 for Students, Seniors, and Military. For more information stop by ACT's box office located at 1936 Sherwood Way, call ACT at (325)-949-4400, or visit ACT's website at www.angelotheater.com