The Pocahontas County Opera House welcomes Greenbrier Valley Theatre (GVT) back to Marlinton on Aug. 15 at 7:30 p.m. with the company’s production of “Beehive!” – a 1960s musical revue featuring classic songs by some of the most talented women of the era.
Music in the ‘60s was crucial to the era’s social revolution, and the female musicians of that era opened doors for later female artists. From Leslie Gore and her innocent early hits to Janis Joplin with her psychedelic blues vocals to Aretha Franklin and her powerful demand for “Respect,” these artists demonstrated a dynamic diversity of style and a remarkable range of talent.
“Social change was coming fast and hard in the ‘60s and the music responded and became a voice for that change,” said Director and Choreographer Donald Laney.
Laney explained that “Beehive!” explores the dramatic social change of the ‘60s, while highlighting the powerful women who helped shape the decade. Laney wanted to create a fun and exciting tribute to these musical icons, a trip to the past through the songs that helped create such a defining era.
“The creative process is to respect and honor the integrity of the songs but not necessarily to impersonate the originals. [We’re] reflecting on the original performances of the numbers as a jumping off point and creating something fresh and exciting for the audiences as we take them down memory lane,” Laney said.
Like the artists whose music they perform, the cast of GVT’s “Beehive!” Brings a broad array of experience and skills to the stage. From familiar faces like Kim Morgan Dean (Chicago, The Marvelous Wonderettes), Tamala Baldwin (Smokey Joe’s Café) and Ambe Williams (Quilters, Sweet and Hot: The Songs of Harold Arlen) to newcomers Crystin Gilmore, May and Samantha Blain, these ladies embody the talent and energy and diversity of the ‘60s scene.
GVT’s Music Director Kermit Medsker has once again compiled an outstanding rock-n-roll band full of GVT regulars. Lending their musicianship to the Beehive! band are Birch Graves (saxophone), Virgil Kelly (bass) and Billy Ayres (drums) who all appeared in Chicago. Medsker will lead the band from the piano. Randy Goodson, who was featured in the 2014 production of Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story, returns to the stage on guitar.
“If you like he music of Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Tina Turner and Janis Joplin, you’ll love this show,” Medsker said.
Located in beautiful, historic downtown Lewisburg, “America’s Coolest Small Town,” Greenbrier Valley Theatre, The State Professional Theatre of West Virginia, is committed to its mission statement to create live, professional quality theatre in West Virginia and, through theatre, to enlighten, enrich, and enliven the life of the region.
Throughout each year, GVT produces first-class theatrical productions featuring professional actors. Additionally, Greenbrier Valley Theatre offers a successful after-school drama program, a summer camp for children and teens, literary readings, live simulcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, special events and musical performances, art appreciation activities, lectures, discussions and workshops.
Tickets for “Beehive!” At the Pocahontas County Opera House are $10 and available in advance at pocahontasoperahouse.org and at the Fourth Avenue Gallery in Marlinton. Youth 17 and younger are admitted free of charge.
The Pocahontas County Opera House is located at 818 Third Avenue in Marlinton. Performances at the Opera House are informal, family-friendly and open to all. The entrance and main seating are accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to attend; special accommodations can be arranged upon request by calling 304-799-6645.
The 2015-16 Opera House Performance Series is presented with financial assistance through a grant from the WV Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts. Support is also provided by Pocahontas County Drama, Fairs and Festivals.