The Great Lakes Theater production of ‘Beehive’ is the buzz


The 50s in America was probably one of the most exciting periods in the nation’s history. Our army had come back from Europe and the Far East with a victory against nearly impossible odds. Factories that had been geared towards the manufacturing of tanks, planes and jeeps were easily converted back to the peacetime manufacturing of stylish cars and ultra-modern appliances. War babies came of age and their taste in music was, let us say, a little different than their parents. This was the beginning of huge cultural changes that would carry clear through to the 70s and beyond.

Through it all the music kept pace and in some instances led the charge to social reform that only a few years ago had been unheard of. Minorities and women had now found their voice and they were not ready to give it up.

Jukebox Musicals come and go but in no single show has such an eclectic collection of music been presented. Beehive the Musical takes us on a wild ride from the days of innocence through to the no holds barred “Peace, Love and Music” orgy that we know as the 70s. The show features such hits as “The Name Game,’ It’s My Party,” “Walking In The Rain,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “To Sir, With Love,” “Proud Mary,” “Chain Of Fools,” and “Cry Baby” just to name a few.

Great Lakes Theatre who is world renowned for their Shakespeare likes to mix it up a bit with contemporary works. Their production of Beehive knocks it out of the park. Six female performers: Wanda (Adrianna Cleveland*), Alison (Annalise Griswold*), Laura (Shelby Griswold*, Jasmine (Christina Perrault*), Gina (Camile Robinson*) and Pattie (Hanna-Jo Weisberg*) take this high energy show to soaring heights. In all thirty three songs taken from three decades are performed in rapid fire sequence complete with costume changes reflecting the clothing trends of the times.

*Member of Actors Equity Association

The resulting nearly two hour show (with fifteen minute intermission to allow the performers and audience to catch their breath) has you convinced that you are in a time warp where time has been compressed from hours to minutes.

Everything about this show is great, from the colorful costuming by Esther M. Haberlen to the mod stage set ala “Shindig,” the lighting design of Greg Hofmann as well as the crisp sound design of David Gotwald.

Jukebox Musicals have never been notorious for their strong story line and Beehive is no different. What it lacks in story it makes up in pure raw energy that comes spilling off the stage in waves. The intricate harmonies laid over the exceptionally talented six piece orchestra will have you singing, tapping and stomping along in no time (as a matter of fact at the start of the show this behavior is strongly encouraged).

This is universally known music of a timeless quality that everyone in the family will love so it is safe to bring the kids.

If you want to take a whirlwind musical journey of the 50s, 60s and 70s Beehive is just the ticket. Six extremely talented females take to the stage to relive the classic sounds of the girl groups and solo artists of this bygone era. This is must see musical.

The Great Lakes Theater production of Beehive will be on stage in the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square through May 20, 2018. Tickets may be purchase online at http://www.greatlakestheater.org/ by phone by calling (216) 241-6000 or at the Playhouse Square Ticket Office located in the outer lobby of the Key Bank State Theatre.

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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.