‘Beehive’ revives female-driven ’60s hits at LV Little Theatre

If you know the Pony and the Monkey aren’t animals …

If you know the Mashed Potato isn’t a side dish …

If you remember the don’t-inhale smell of Aqua Net hairspray and the low-fi sound of a transistor radio, then “Beehive” is for you.

Besides, you already know all the songs.

Subtitled “The ’60s Musical,” the hand-clappin’, finger-snappin’ revue — which opens a three-weekend run Friday at Las Vegas Little Theatre — presents a reelin’-in-the-years cavalcade of top pop hits from the distaff side of the charts.

The roll call runs from Aretha Franklin to Janis Joplin, from Diana Ross to Dusty Springfield, from Lesley Gore to Lulu, from the Chiffons to the Shangri-Las as “Beehive” tracks the sounds — and times.

But it’s not a jukebox musical, maintains director-choreographer E. Wayne Worley — who also designed the show’s straight-outta-“Shindig” set, reminiscent of the era’s TV variety shows.

Unlike such jukebox musicals as “Mamma Mia!” and “Jersey Boys,” which create new contexts for existing songs, “Beehive” is all music, all the time.

Looking for “a summer show that’s fun, where the audience recognizes all the songs — and sings along if they want to,” Worley found “Beehive,” an off-Broadway hit of the ’80s created by the late Larry Gallagher.

A sort of flip side to “Forever Plaid,” which focused on a (make-believe) male harmony group, “Beehive” presents “a celebration of girl groups and individual singers,” according to Worley.

There’s a narrator to guide the audience, from the dawn of the decade (as a 13-year-old, she greets the arrival of the 1960s with a jaded “Big deal, it feels like 1959”) through flower power and Woodstock.

But the beating heart of “Beehive” is its virtually nonstop score.

Music director Susan Easter, who leads the show’s four-piece band, describes “Beehive” as “all music” — as in “200 pages of music, eight pages of dialogue.”

The score may consist of nonstop favorites, but “because they’re such iconic songs,” Easter notes, “Beehive’s” goal is to present them without duplicating the originals note for note.

“These songs — it’s more about attitude than vocal” prowess, she says, especially when it comes to “the first solo artists” — Franklin, Tina Turner and more — “who did it on their own. It’s all about selling their songs.”

Accompanying those songs is another challenge, Easter adds, noting how she’s “exhausted” playing rapid-fire keyboard accompaniment.

“Growing up as a classical pianist,” she notes, “every once in a while, I look at these chords and go, ‘Huh?’ ”

Having a live band “enlivens the audience,” Worley observes, heightening “the symbiotic relationship between the singers” and the audience.

And while any show about the ’60s can’t possibly avoid some of the decade’s dominant issues — the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and more —“Beehive” steers clear of heavy-duty messages, the director adds.

More typical, he adds, is the “very funny scene” featuring teen queens Lesley Gore, Connie Francis and Annette Funicello.

But maybe you’d rather hear girl groups (“My Boyfriend’s Back”) or superstar women (“Proud Mary,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”). Whatever your mood, “Beehive’s” got a song for you.

Wigging out with ‘Beehive’

The ’60s musical revue “Beehive” boasts dozens of songs. And dozens of wigs. (Which seems entirely appropriate, considering the show’s title.)

To bring the sounds, and sights, of female-driven ’60s music to life, the Las Vegas Little Theatre production employs “probably 30 wigs” to help transform its eight performers into multiple musical personalities, according to director E. Wayne Worley.

“There’s the Diana Ross wig, the Aretha Franklin wig, the Janis Joplin wig, the Dusty Springfield wig,” Worley says. And that’s just for starters, followed by “Connie Francis and Annette (Funicello). And Lesley Gore.” And more.

Performer Jillian Austin, a poufy bouffant piled high atop her head, pauses between songs to ponder one of her “Beehive” wigs.

“It’s a little top-heavy,” she admits. But “it is really fun.”

Or, as one of her castmates jokes as she dons a piled-high wig before rehearsal, “Oh, my God — I feel dumber already.”

Contact Carol Cling at ccling@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @CarolSCling on Twitter.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
This boozy milkshake is big enough to share with seven of your best friends
Fiddlestix makes an "8 Man Milkshake" that's packed with alcohol. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five Chris Stapleton songs you need to hear
D. Michael Evola opened E-String to make New York style pizza
Shamrock Macarons at Morels at Palazzo
Zuma serves a sushi roll topped with 24-karat gold
La Cirque covers their quail and foie gras in real gold
Jean-Georges Steakhouse seves chocolate gold bars
3 ways you can eat gold in Las Vegas
Artist Kathleen Nathan On The Virtues Of Library Galleries
The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s art galleries offers artists a more relaxed vibe for showing their work. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada SPCA Competes In Tournament Of Tails
The NSPCA and its mascot cat, Prince, are competing in an online voting challenge for a $5,000 grand prize.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Eureka's cocktail comes with a "buzz button" that will shock your taste buds
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed Deadline reports that New Line has purchased Chase and Lawrence Konner’s screenplay for their “Sopranos” prequel film. The working title for the prequel is “The Many Saints of Newark.” Chase created the HBO series, which ran for six seasons, and Konner served as a writer. “The Many Saints of Newark” is set during the 1960s riots in the New Jersey city between the African-American and Italian communities. Multiple characters from the series, albeit younger versions, are expected to star in the film. The Sopranos won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards during its run.
The Big Bounce America is coming to the Las Vegas Valley
The Big Bounce America. (Courtesy Big Bounce America)
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History According to The Hollywood Reporter, 26.5 million watched the Oscars, a 20 percent drop from last year. The 26.5 million viewers would be an all-time low for the Oscars. Overnight returns had the lengthy ABC telecast averaging a 18.9 rating among households between 8 and 11 p.m. ET. Last year, 32.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony. The previous low for viewership was 32 million viewers in 2008 when Jon Stewart was host. The Shape of Water picked up an award for Best Picture, while Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand won Best Actor and Actress, respectively.
March First Friday theme is “Think”
First Friday art, culture, music and food event takes place on the first Friday of every month in and around the studios and galleries of the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon)
Cirque’s One Night for One Drop gets ready for the big night
Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” performed a dress rehearsal for the annual benefit show. This year’s show at Mandalay Bay is based on the life of singer-songwriter Jewel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like