Harlequin Productions’ original revue SIXTIES CHICKS closes this weekend after 6 weeks of nearly sold-out shows–Go See It!
If you haven’t seen it already, let me toss out just a few of the great things about SIXTIES CHICKS, in no particular order…
Why See SIXTIES CHICKS?
1) The song selection. The high-energy, immensely entertaining revue covers the changing spirit of the 60s in a musical history, from girl groups to Woodstock to the jaded end of the era. As a late 20-something, I knew about 80% of the songs by heart from my Dad’s Oldies station. But the rest of them were something of a revelation to me… “Society’s Child,” for instance, is just one of the tunes that tackles a major social issue of the time.
2) The vocalists. All of the 4 ladies on stage have fantastic voices — as soloists, yeah they rock it. But equally impressive is the way they blend, and listen, and play together as a group or as each other’s back-up vocals. Anyone can be a diva, but it takes skill, appreciation, and yes, some strength of character to make diverse sounds into a single voice. Speaking of diverse, I happen to know 3 of the 4 women pretty well, and one of my favorite parts was seeing their unique personalities shine through. Their differences in style, stage presence, and movement made the choreography more interesting, and more “real” for a show about the unified, diversified voice of women. Any Rockette-style unison would have ruined it for me, made it seem like a casino show with glitz and no heart. Kudos to the directors for casting personality and then selecting and assigning songs to each woman that showcased it.
3) The band. The music men on stage absolutely deserve their own entry here. They are solid, together, and absolutely true to the styles of the era. And they are clearly diggin’ it all.
4) The audience. Man, I loved watching the packed audience. This is a nostalgia show… but for what, you just can’t guess. It’s different for everyone in the theatre. The night I went, we were a quiter, “inner glow” kind of audience, but the smiles –and sometimes tears– were all around the room. One woman in the back row stood up and bopped in place to every girl-group number. A sea of heads nodded in weighted unison to the psychedelics. Every now and again, the man in front of me would lightly slap his palm to his own cheek in delighted recognition, and murmur, “Oh yeah.” The lobby was full of ” that sounded just like…” and “I can’t believe I forgot that one…” and “Oh, yeah I remember when that happened…”
5) The story. That’s right, I said story. Not the “plot.” This is a musical revue, and no, there is no plot. However, in the best tradition of musical revues, it expands on a theme to tell a story. The theme is simple: Women in an era of social change. But the story itself is complex, layered, and full of emotional points. Director Linda Whitney and Musical Director Bruce Whitney tell that story in a tightly-crafted progression of lyrics, song styles, lighting, and projected vintage images and audio clips from the 60s.
The story unfolds for us then: A woman sings of love, says goodbye as her love goes to fight a war she doesn’t understand, opens her eyes to a new world. She learns to ask questions and demand answers, she learns to experiment, she learns to feel and mourn the loss of innocence. She learns to love herself, her body, her potential. She witnesses the end of many things and the beginning of even more. She learns that some things are constant and others fleeting.
There is love, pain, heartbreak, chances taken, success, failure, chagrin, and hope. In short, SIXTIES CHICKS brings us everything we go to the theatre to experience.
And with all of that said: It’s two hours of great music and one hell of a good time.
Sixties Chicks runs through August 1
at The State Theatre in Olympia
202 4th Avenue East
Tickets: Call 360-786-0151 or harlequinproductions.org