Take a toe-tapping journey back to the ’60s in song with the women whose music defined a generation, from innocent tunes to protest songs in “Beehive – the 60’s Musical.”
The show runs 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18, 19, 25 and 26 and 3 p.m. Jan. 20 and 27 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle, Wyandotte.
Director Debbie Aue of Taylor said “Beehive,” a musical revue based on music from many of the girl groups from the 1960s, reminds us of the role they played in the first wave of feminine protest movements.
“I think it is important to remember how much of a role women played in the shaping of our musical industry in the ’60s,” she said. “It was not just about the music – it was about what was going on in politics, too, and a lot of the woman stood up and sang about issues that nobody really wanted to talk about.”
Aue said the political climate now is similar, and she thinks it is time to revisit some of the causes they supported through their music.
“Maybe we need to go back and remember those things,” she said. “Plus the music’s great.”
Aue said she loves the girl group and the Tina Turner selections. She said the Supremes, the Ronettes, the Chiffons, Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin are all represented.
Aue said the light-hearted scenes include “It’s My Party,” “Where the Boys Are” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” which are meant to be fun.
She said the most serious scenes occurs at the beginning of Act II, with “The Beat Goes On,” where the women address the somber times of the John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, as well as the protest marches.
“Act II gets a little more serious and into the politics of the music movement in the late ’60s,” Aue said. “There are a lot of slides that go with this musical revue, and the way we are staging it is both of the proscenium walls will have simultaneous projections going, so the audience will be able to see the projections and actual video footage of some of the marches.”
She said they also have slides of the actual artists.
“That way people can see what Dusty Springfield, the Ronettes or Petula Clark looked like,” Aue said. “It’s just a lot of fun, with a lot of costumes.”
She said the cast features nine women, who were all hand-picked for their vocal talents. They include Melanie Aue, Mishana Green and Kayla Nagy of Taylor; Amanda Aue of Wyandotte; Annie Mann of Southgate; Ashley Gatesy of Westland; Jami Krause and Sydney Villanueva of Northville; and N’Jeri Nicholson of Oak Park.
Joshua Gray of Brownstown Township, who works in a technical capacity on the show, said the ’60s was a time of political divide in some ways similar to what we are experiencing today.
“Back in the ’60s there was a period of huge political discourse that was ‘all the rage’ back then, and now the political discourses seem to have taken another uproar with all of the different movements and the political climate you are seeing these days,” he said.
Gatesy said she tells people that the show has songs they know and love. Her favorite number is “Be My Baby,” co-written by Ellie Greenwich, a role she has played onstage before, and which she sang as the opening number of “Leader of the Pack,” the Ellie Greenwich musical, with DAG.
“Ellie was a feminist when it was just starting, and she didn’t want to be a housewife,” Gatesy said. “She wanted to have her own career.”
Nicholson said her favorite numbers in the show are Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman” and the Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”
“There are a lot of songs that people will recognize,” she said. “It’s a good place for people Downriver to come and see this show.”
Melanie Aue said said she loves the harmonies in the music.
“There are some solos, but for the most part we are always in beautiful three- or four-part harmony,” she said. “That’s my favorite – I could do a whole show that is just harmony.”
She said the audience will recognize the musical numbers.
“All of your favorite hits from the ’60s, by girl groups, are in this show,” she said.
Tickets are $18, with a $2 discount for seniors and students. To order, call 734-407-7020 or to to downriveractorsguild.net.