I seem to recall the Wick getting some early criticism for recycling tried and true Broadway and off-Broadway faves rather than staging bold, new more avant-garde productions, but whomever said that may be rethinking it now.
The theater’s success over the past four seasons is indisputable; performances are often sold out and they get progressively more sophisticated. This past year I was blown away by how brilliantly “West Side Story” was staged in this small theater, and last Saturday night I was charmed in a different way by the current production of “Beehive, the 60s Musical.”
This musical revue was created in the late 1980s by the late Larry Gallagher, but it’s just as much fun almost 30 years later with its seven-woman cast of singers who trace the contributions and roles of women in 1960s music, from Lesley Gore to Janis Joplin. There are 30-some songs here (all were sung first by a woman) starting with “The Name Game” and “It’s My Party” and progressing through the tumultuous decade. Girl groups like the Shirelles (“Sweet Talkin’ Guy”) and the Supremes (“You Can’t Hurry Love”) are honored, as well as solo stars like Lesley Gore, Tina Turner, Dusty Springfield.
A special moment in the first act was when cast member Sarah Amengual crooned “Where The Boys Are,” and the audience erupted in applause—because the real Connie Francis was there in the audience.
The decade—and its gradual loss of innocence—is tracked by an occasional narrative in addition to music through the dark days of the assassination of John Kennedy and Martin Luther King as well as the British invasion, and ultimately, the summer of love and Woodstock.
The cast members’ voices are outstanding—to a woman—and exceptional performances are delivered by Trisha Jeffrey (“Never Loved A Man”) and Mallory Newbrough summoning up her inner Janis Joplin (“Try—Just A Little Harder”). The live band in Act II was a great addition, and the pace was lively.
This is almost a singalong revue but it avoids being sucked into the black hole of nostalgia through a great list of curated songs—and the wonder that it all happened in one single decade in history. They were the best of times and the worst of times—but they make an excellent evening of entertainment at The Wick.
The show runs through May 14; visit thewick.org to snag a seat.