Behind the scenes: Beehive: the 60’s musical

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Photos by Lisey Pillay

The cast of Beehive: the 60’s musical, working on choreography.

The house lights in the auditorium start to dim as the music begins to play and the chattering of people comes to a stop. The music gets louder and louder as the actors congregate on stage, finally performing what they have spent months to perfect.

Athens Drive theater is an award-winning program run by the director, Ashlynn Hayes. The theater department has done many well-known shows such as In The Heights, All Shook Up, and 9 to 5. Hayes is currently working on a newer Musical; Beehive: The 60s Musical (school edition). Beehive is a musical celebrating women from the 60s, who have worked to be heard.

“It’s really relevant after covid because the 60s were a really big time of happiness and joy in the United States and so I think this musical will be really great for showing us how we can do that for ourselves after covid,” said Emma Gould, senior and stage manager.

Becoming a part of the musical can be a very different experience depending on whether or not a student wants to be on the cast or crew. The cast and crew are split even this year, with 21 people in the crew and 25 in the cast. Joining the cast is a long process, starting with filling out a form and writing a resume.

“We were asked to prepare a monologue and a piece of music and you would just go in to give Santan [Mr. Santangelo] your sheet music. He would play it for you and you would sing and then you would do your monologue and then at callbacks we had a little dance call to ‘river deep mountain high,’ which is still one of my favorite combinations I’ve learned here, it’s super fun,” said Bella Loflin-Van Dorn, freshmen, and cast member.

During a theater production, while the cast is at the center of everyone’s attention, the crew makes sure the production continues to run smoothly. From the lights to the costumes to the large set pieces, the crew does many things for the theater program. During a show night, the crew will either work as running crew or on the tech. The running crew works to move props on and off stage, help actors do quick changes, and put the actor’s mics on.  The tech part of the crew will listen for cues to change the lighting and sound for the scene. The crew for the 2022 spring musical is in charge of building the set, the costumes, and gathering the props. Mason Bennett, senior and head of the crew, along with the construction team, is working to build multiple platforms to go on stage and be a part of the set. The construction team has also been working to clean and organize the prop shop. 

“Progress is going really smoothly! We’re getting a lot done and we’re also in the middle of a big organization project which is going great! It will not only help our show but the tech crews in the future. I’m really proud of my team and the work they’ve done so far,” said Bennett.

While the crew is working behind the curtains, the cast is working on the stage, or in the chorus room. There are three types of rehearsals; the most common is the music and dance rehearsal, where the actors practice singing and choreography. During any given rehearsal, the cast goes over the content they already know, and then they learn new content when ready. Towards the end of the rehearsal, the cast goes over all of the songs and dances consecutively.

“There have been so many [fun experiences]! From a research standpoint, I have really enjoyed thinking about how all of the music directly relates to the history of the 60s. However, as cheesy as it sounds, my favorite part is always being in the rehearsal space and creating with the fabulous students at Athens.” said Bryan Bunch, head choreographer for Beehive.

The musical has a strict schedule. Most of the cast and crew have to be at rehearsal around four days a week, while also balancing their classes. Even with the strict schedule, the cast, crew, and even the theatre advisers have made many memories. With all the hard work, and even the silliness, the cast and crew of beehive are proud of the show they’ve put together.

“I think one of the most beautiful things about live theater is that it is a dynamic experience that is never the same two nights in a row. Live theater is a cathartic escape from everyday life,” said Hayes, “Life is heavy right now, but this show is silly and fun and will be a great reprieve from the doldrums of daily life.”

Abagail Bennett and Liza Medlin