Summer in September at Mac-Haydn Theatre continues to bring home the hits

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This season as we return to some sense of normalcy and theater has returned, we have seen theaters learn to pivot, become more creative in their presentations, the duration of their seasons and still afford the audience the chance to enjoy live entertainment. For the second half of their season, Mac-Haydn has adopted more of a repertory theater approach; throughout the month of September and into the first week of October, they are interweaving 5 different productions. Two, one person cabaret type concerts, one revue with an assortment of cast members performing the very best of musical theater’s greatest hits, The World Goes Round, the Songs of Kander and Ebb and most recently, Beehive, the 60’s Musical.

Photo by Ann Kielbasa

Beehive is what I have come to think of as a jukebox musical. Lots of familiar music of an era loosely strung together with some dialogue to keep the show moving. This particular package takes us on a trip back to the 1960s. The show begins on the cusp of a new decade, the music still reminiscent of the 50’s bobby socks generation. The 6 ladies who make up the cast are all still wearing crinoline petticoats and their hairdos in slightly teased flips. One expects to see Shelly Farbares or Leslie Gore join the group at any moment. Beehive explores the women of rock who impacted our lives in what became a most tumultuous decade. It looks at everything from women’s rights, to civil rights and Woodstock, the effect those things had on the women, and the music that emerged and changed a generation. 

The show’s opening numbers, “Round the Beehive”, “The Name Game”, “It’s My Party” all evoke memories for those of a certain age, of a bygone time. The show truly hits its stride when Mia Sempertegul and Kiara Hines take control of the stage with Walking in the Rain. Their voices offer the pathos and the love that the song demands. An excellent mix of joy and optimism that the early 60’s still held in our hearts. Angela Colona’s “I’ll Never Change Him” and Sempertegul’s “Sweet Talkin’ Guy” fill the theater with the sweetest of sounds. 

Photo by Ann Kielbasa

“Where The Boys Are”, “Can’t Hurry Love”, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” wrap us in the optimism of The Years of Camelot, when everything and anything was still possible. Suddenly Jack Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. are murdered things come crashing down around us, and the mood of the world changed. The outstanding rendition of Abraham Martin and John silences the audience as you realize the fun and innocence of a generation has been lost. And that’s just the first act.

Twenty numbers performed by six women in about 50 minutes will leave you with at the very least, being breathless. Rounding out the cast are Ashley DeLane Burger, Maya Cuevas, and Julie Hajjar; each has their moment to shine and together the six combine in company numbers and back one another up. Their harmonies are tight and together their sound will bring the audience to attention. And we’ve not yet hit the British invasion.

Photo by Ann Kielbasa

A much shorter second act showcases Kiara Hines in a stunning Tina Turner medley and then again in a trio of Aretha Franklin songs with an outstanding rendition of “Never Loved a Man”. Angie Colonna does a wonderfully heartfelt performance of the Janis Joplin hit Bobby McGee.

Directed and Choreographed by Bryan Knowlton, he once again shows he knows how to get the most out of his performers particularly with the limited restrictions of the size of the Mac stage. His choreography fills the space and he uses his actors’ dancing abilities to their best.  Tiffany Howard’s costume design brings the decade to life perfectly. Her costumes are a visual treat creating a painting of the decade in fabric. Matthew Oliver’s hair and make-up, particularly the outstanding wigs act as the frosting on the psychedelic 60’s cake.

Photo by Ann Kielbasa

Beehive is not the strongest production this summer but is certainly one of the most fun. If you are old enough to remember the times, it is a memory stirring nostalgic look back. If you haven’t lived through the ’60s the show offers a solid glimpse of a life lived and the changes the decade brought forth. Extend your summer theater season with another trip to Mac-Haydn… you’ll enjoy the show and have lots to sing about on the ride home.

Beehive runs through October 2. For more information check out the website at www.machaydntheatre.org or call the box office at 518-392-9292.

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