Beehive, the 60s Musical, features over forty tunes that topped the charts in that remarkable decade, resulting in a high voltage, fast-paced and nostalgic look back at all the great female groups of that era, such as the Supremes and the Shirelles, as well as individual artists as diverse as Leslie Gore, Dusty Springfield, Connie Francis, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Janis Joplin.
Cabrillo Stage visiting director/choreographer Gary John La Rosa, of the New York theatre scene, believes “Beehive is first and foremost a celebration of women, friendship, and the music of a uniquely unforgettable decade.”
Artistic Director, Jon Nordgren, had long been hoping to bring Mr. La Rosa to Santa Cruz to collaborate on a Cabrillo Stage production, and Beehive seemed the perfect fit. Raised in New York, Gary John received a degree in dance from UCLA and subsequently performed in venues all over the world from Las Vegas to South Africa. However, his passion for musical theater eventually drew him back to The Big Apple, where he spent several years performing on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in Summer Stock, Regional Theatre, Opera and National Tours before deciding to direct and choreograph.
Gary John feels setting the tone for Beehive, the 60s Musical is key. He requires truth and authenticity in every actor’s performance, and wants his cast to share an appreciation for the music and its origins. To this goal he furnished them with a comprehensive glossary and research notes and shared videos and movies from the period, explaining “one of the highlights of bringing Beehive to fruition has been exposing the actors to music that was before their time and seeing them approach the work with fervor and energy.”
Historically, as the music reflects, a lot happened in the 60s. The beginning of the decade brought us fun, innocent times and tunes such as My Boyfriend’s Back and Be My Baby. But soon the conflict in Vietnam overwhelmed the national consciousness, triggering an era of protest movements, Woodstock, drugs, sex and rock and roll, as well as the dawning of the civil rights and feminist movements.
The changing music brought us Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee and Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman. “It was a decade unlike any before” states La Rosa “but the music had a unique heart and soul that often gave us hope and made us pay attention.”
Director La Rosa wants the audience to “feel the joy that this music can bring; feel exhilarated by the material and the performances and experience the power that music plays in our society.” He also hopes to evoke a little nostalgia – Where were you then? Who were you with? What did you do? How did you feel? He promises a highly entertaining show recalling old memories and creating new.
Beehive, The 60s Musical runs June 27th through July 14th at the Cabrillo Crocker Theater, 6500 Soquel Drive in Aptos. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2:00 p.m. Following the June 30th performance, join the Directors and Cast for a Q&A on Beehive.
Tickets: www.cabrillostage.com or call the box office at 831-479-6154