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“Beehive: The 60s Musical Sensation” returns to Sierra Repertory Theatre’s East Sonora stage Friday with six rockin’ women, 40 outrageous costumes, a couple cases of hairspray and a decade worth of hot, high-energy hits. The action-packed trip through the 60s plays through Aug. 28.
Critically-acclaimed “Beehive” includes the music of the best-loved female artists, from The Chiffons, The Supremes and Brenda Lee to Tina Turner, Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin. The all-female cast performs more than 30 of the 1960s greatest hits, including “Name Game,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “One Fine Day,” “Downtown,” “Proud Mary” and “Respect.” The brand new production reunites East Coast director-choreographer Russell Garrett and SRT musical director Mark Seiver, the same dynamic artistic team that last produced the show at Sierra Rep in 2003.
Garrett just finished two successful shows at SRT: He directed and choreographed the musical comedy “The Drowsy Chaperone” and played Professor Henry Higgins in the season-opener “My Fair Lady.”
“This show is going to be the most fun our audiences have all year,” Garrett said. “We have a fantastic group of women, and visually this show is so electric. We’re going to blow the roof off! It’s a nostalgic trip through a really interesting time and audiences are going to love it.”
The show follows a coming-of-age timeline that starts out with a nostalgic look at the best girl groups of the early 60s, a world of bubblegum and bouffants when most hits were about boyfriends and break ups. That gives way to the British Invasion with micro-minis, go-go boots and songs a bit more restless and worldly. The show then turns with the times to music more earthy and socially conscious. All of the cultural swings were reflected in both music and fashion, and “Beehive” celebrates every step of the journey.
Guest costumer Bethany Deal, a Bay Area designer, will be creating both the fashions and wigs for the show. “We won’t be exaggerating anything,” she said. “You don’t have to. Every look will be based on actual photos. We go from the button down look of the early 60s to the mod styles and then to the free-flowing flower child. It’s going to be bright and exciting.”
Deal said the focus on female artists gives the show special appeal.
“It shows how talented these women were, and all the changes they were making, the freedom and self expression,” she said. “It’s empowering and fun to share.”
Garrett brings a cast of women who are all new to SRT. They include Actors Equity Association performer Samantha Gershman, Southern California artists Gabrielle Jackson, Faye James and Natalie Anne MacDonald, and actresses Ariel Daly and Roslyn Seale.
Set design is by guest artist Michael Kramer. Also on the production team are lighting designer and stage manager Peter Leibold and SRT props master Matt Sweetland. The show is rated PG.
• What: ‘Beehive’ musical.
• When: Friday through Aug. 28.
• Where: SRT’s East Sonora Theater, 13891 Mono Way.
• Tickets: $32 to $37, with discounts offered.
• Info: sierrarep.org, (209) 532-3120.