Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Wild Hairs 

Some off-key performances produce a limp Beehive.

There has probably never been a decade in America that experienced such enormous change as the 1960s. In just 10 years, we went from J.F.K. to Tricky Dick, from the first Coke sold in a can to the first implanted artificial heart. In music, the Grammy Award for song of the year evolved from Percy Faith's mushy "Theme From A Summer Place" to the hippie anthem "Aquarius."

It's the mission of Larry Gallagher's musical revue Beehive, now at the Carousel Dinner Theatre, to relive the musical changes of the '60s by revisiting the female singers and girl groups that were prominent in those comatose-turned-tumultuous years. Featuring a cast of six energetic young women, the production is endearingly hardworking but quite uneven, even down to a highly questionable costuming decision.

Thankfully, the tunes are arranged chronologically, so those who weren't around at the time can appreciate the scope of musical transformation. Danielle M. Garner, oozing personality, kicks off the proceedings by introducing her co-performers through "The Name Game." But then, except for a nice turn on "One Fine Day," Garner and her engaging stage presence virtually disappear.

That leaves it up to the other five singers to carry the load, and some are up to the task. Christine Mild's powerful pipes do justice to the Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back," and later she nails Connie Francis (appropriately, lopsided black wig firmly in place) on "Where the Boys Are." Short and sassy Val Moranto trills the Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," asking the title's eternal question of any teenage girl in a lip-lock with a boy. She also does a bang-up job poking fun at Brenda Lee's hiccupy singing style on "I'm Sorry," while LaDonna Burns turns in a sultry "Do Right Woman."

But there are many misfires in this tune-packed (33 of 'em) journey. Attempting to poke fun at ego-queen Diana Ross, Benai Boyd gives no evidence of comic impulse or timing as she meanders across the stage while going through the motions in a Supremes medley. And Alena Watters decides to mug her way through "It's My Party," instead of searching for the weepy bubblegum tragedy at the heart of Lesley Gore's teary melody.

Although there are some well-executed costumes by Dale DiBernardo (the Connie Francis frock is hysterically over-the-top), the most egregious error is when Boyd appears as Tina Turner in a swirly knee-length dress. Tina will never wear a dress that long and loose when she's 95, let alone at her peak, when she was belting out "Proud Mary" and ducking Ike's roundhouse rights.

Director-choreographer Donna Drake keeps the pace lively, but allows too many clunky performances. Sadly, the show ends on the worst of these, as Moranto is not up to the task of embodying Janis Joplin. Swinging a bottle of Jack Daniel's (yeah, she drank it, but she preferred Southern Comfort), Moranto's Janis is a screechy and pale imitation of the legend, whose fatal overdose in 1970 drew the curtain down on a decade to remember.

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 26, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • William Mortensen at 125 – A Multi-Venue Celebration of the 125th Birthday of America’s Greatest Visionary Photographic Artist @ Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick

    • Sat., Jan. 29
  • Viva MOMIX @ Ohio Theatre

    • Sat., Feb. 5

© 2022 Cleveland Scene: PO Box 1028, Willoughby, OH 44096-1028, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation