Musical revue at Lone Tree a treat for the ears

If you’re a fan of ’60s music, the Lone Tree Art Center’s “Beehive” is for you. And even if you’re not — at 75 minutes and rich in powerful musical performances – this musical event is still a great way to spend an evening.

The six-woman cast packs a lot into this short time frame, covering a decade of music – a task made even more challenging by how dramatically music changed from the early to late ’60s.

While Sharon Kay White, as Wanda, offers some simple narration and historical references, there’s no plot to follow here. Audience members can simply sit back and enjoy the music.

The performances build in intensity and quality as this short show moves along. “Beehive” begins with the relatively sweet, ’50s-influenced music of the early ’60s. It lingers here a bit long; I’d have preferred to hear more from the late ’60s, when both lyrics and artists became sexier, bolder, more complex and at times political. It was a period much more interesting than earlier in the decade.

“Beehive” isn’t just a treat for the ears. The costumes keep pace with the music, seguing from the colorful but demure flared skirts, flats and low heels of the early decade to the tighter, shorter, often glittery dresses and high boots of the later ’60s, and ending with loose, ethnic-inspired styles that peppered Woodstock and flowed into the 1970s.

It’s all set against a colorful, record-themed set. The band that accompanies the show – as small and powerful as the cast – gets the spotlight, too, sitting in its own area of the stage throughout the production.

All six women delivered impressive performances. But of particular note were the pieces spotlighting Valerie Igoe (Patti), Sheryl Renee (Gina) and Karen Jeffreys (Allison).

Igoe’s rendition of “You Don’t Own Me” was the most powerful of the show. Igoe is far from tall, but she loomed large during this piece. If Igoe were truly the teenaged girl she portrays, god help the parents who’d try to keep her home at night.

Renee, the only African American in the cast, offered a version of the long-legged, hair-tossing Tina Turner that was both vocally impressive and physically comedic.

The show ended on perhaps its most impressive note with Jeffreys’ challenging and soulful rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby.”

My only wish at the end of this impressive production? That the show had gone on longer and delved into the ’70s, ’80s and perhaps even ’90s. This was clearly a cast that could have done those decades justice as well.

A shout out to director and choreographer Candy Brown and music director Michael Williams for their behind-the-stage roles in bringing this high-spirited production to life.

“Beehive” plays through April 13 at the Lone Tree Arts Center. Find tickets here.

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