‘Beehive’ is all about the music

Lone Tree Arts Center show explores sounds of days gone by

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We wondered if Lone Tree’s director/choreographer Candy Brown had ever performed in “Beehive” during her long career. “No,” she answered, “I’m not really a singer — I’m a dancer who can carry a tune … But I grew up with this music. It’s a new experience — I never did a show that doesn’t have a book. (A script.) Of course we had the invasion from England then. But this just goes from song to song to song.” She says there are elements in the set that evoke her teen years …

Imagine: Aretha Franklin, Lesley Gore, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, the Shirelles and more …

She expects the audience will consist of people who lived through the era — and hopes it will put a smile on their faces. “Maybe they’ll remember their first white buckskin shoes … If you’ve never seen it before, there’s no particular dialogue with the audience — nothing said to the audience — three or four songs, then another little set-up …” Think: “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Proud Mary,” “Me and Bobby McGee …”

The cast is local and includes: Sharon Kay White, Piper Arpan, Sheryl Renee, Karen Jeffreys, Melody Moore, Valerie Igoe. Shannan Steele is understudy. The music director is Dr. Michael Williams, a keyboardist and director who teaches music and has performed with Cleo Parker Robinson, at the Aurora Fox, at Denver Center and more, including the recent “Lady Day at Emerson Bar and Grill.”

“They’re not 'Singin’ Mama-Jamas,’” Brown said. “We’re not trying to imitate Amazon … We hope for happy memories, nothing gimmicky…”

Brown hasn’t met the band members yet. (They always appear late in the rehearsal process.) “That’s always my favorite part when doing a show (when musicians appear). “We always rehearse with a piano until the end. Hearing all the instruments can change the delivery of a song.”

About choreography for “Beehive”: Brown says most songs feature a singer and back-up. There’s little choreography on each. Most dance moves as a group. “We’re not trying to create but to honor the music — all songs of women. We’re not trying to send a message … not trying to tell you how this relates to you … Don’t look for anything deep!”

“A young person not familiar with the music is in for a treat,” Brown said.

About the production, she is thrilled with Lone Tree Arts Center’s production crew and from the October auditions, “we have the cream of the crop!”

Brown has performed widely (locally and across the nation) since she relocated to Denver. She said she’d stop in Denver when touring with a show and thought it was so beautiful, she eventually moved here. She teaches part time in the theater department at Denver School of the Arts. “I feel I have really elevated the theater department,” she said. “I was raised on New York theater and I tell students: “If you really want to get out of here, this is what being professional looks like …”

Her assistant with “Beehive,” Nadiya Jackson, is a former DSA student, she added. Two in the show have worked in New York productions: Piper Arpan and Sharon Kay White. Performer’s ages range from 27 to “up there” in the intergenerational cast. “We don’t talk about age.”

“Imagine that you have just gone to the attic and you have yours, your mom’s and your grandma’s collections of 45s. You grab a hairbrush — and start singing. Look back and enjoy a reverie …”

Brown says she grew up in California and her married son lives there with a 4-month-old new grandbaby. “I’m very happy here — I teach — I don’t perform anymore.” But she worked with the best in New York — Bob Fosse, Hal Prince (still living), and was a participant in the history-making workshop that resulted in “A Chorus Line,” and appeared in ”Hello Dolly, the tour of “Applause” and in television productions, commercials and films.

“I may have to move to Southern California to be near little Chloe …”

If you go:

“Beehive” runs April 3 to April 13 at Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., Lone Tree. For tickets, see lonetreeartscenter.org or call: 720-509-1000.

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