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Heed the hive mind: ‘Beehive’ at Marriott Theatre

Director-choreographer Deidre Goodwin calls Beehive: The 60s Musical a “love letter” to the era’s music. And no one who takes in her quickly paced, extraordinarily well-sung rendition of the title at Marriott Lincolnshire will be apt to disagree.

Okay, Boomers, this is your SIX. With a terrific all-female onstage band and six alternatively bobby-soxed, mini-skirted, bell-bottomed and day-glo-clad triple-threat gals, this summer’s Beehive is all honey, no sting. (Kudos to costume designer Amanda Vander Byl.)

Goodwin, whose Broadway credits include Spamalot, A Chorus Line and Chicago, teams with Marriott music director Ryan T. Nelson to twist, mashed-potato and name-game audiences through the timeless female vocal classics of the 1960s. From Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin to Diana Ross, The Supremes, Tina Turner and more, Beehive offers a nostalgic (if not terribly instructional or LGBT-inclusive) look at the decade’s history, particularly focused on female empowerment.

There’s plenty familiarity with the score, featuring, among more than 30 abridged versions, such timeless classics as “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “Somebody to Love,” “Natural Woman,” “Proud Mary” and more. They’re all rocked out in a tidy 85 minutes (no intermission) on a neon-infused circular set that harkens thoughts of spinning 45s with friends in a paneled, shag-carpeted basement, hiding the contraband six-pack from prying parental eyes. Plaudits to scenic designer Collette Pollard.

Beehive was put together in the 1980s by the late Larry Gallagher. It was a huge off-Broadway hit, ran for more than 500 performances, and has become a regular regional and community theatre staple. Hard to believe any has been better sung than this Marriott treat.

The terrific cast is led by veteran Leah Morrow, who performs most of the accompanying narration paralleling the decade’s history to the familiar songbook. She is joined by Emma Grace Bailey, Grace Bobber, Lucy Godinez, Miciah Lathan (Marriott Theatre debut) and Aisha Sougou. With a cast this talented, it’s only fitting this ensemble show gives each of them a chance to shine, in both solos and jaw-dropping harmonies. Bobbe’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” Godinez’s “One Fine Day,” Morrow’s “Walking in the Rain,” Lathan’s “Baby I Love You” and Sougou’s Tina Turner medley are one observer’s particular highlights. But in truth, there’s really not a dud in the bunch.

The excellent onstage Beehive Band is led by keyboardist Celia Villacres and features Karli Bunn, Stephanie Chow, Kellin Hanas, Camila Mennitte and Lauren Pierce. Trumpeter Hanas gets to ham it up a couple times and does not disappoint.

Beehive, in any presentation, will likely never achieve a reviewer’s “drop everything and buy a ticket” status. But Goodwin’s “To Sir With Love” letter to the countercultural decade and well-known soundtrack is as close as it gets.