For anyone who has seen both, it's tough not to draw comparisons between the stage productions "Beehive - The '60s Musical" and "The Marvelous Wonderettes."
Though there are clear differences, both feature songs - a few of the same ones - from girl groups and female recording artists of the 1960s. And both have fun period costumes, playful lighting and wax nostalgic.
But the most important similarity is that both are enjoyable, lightweight diversions, assuming the cast is up to the task of delivering an eclectic mix of pop and R&B.
And the six singers starring in the current revival of Larry Gallagher's "Beehive," playing through Oct. 3 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, make these songs shine.
Unlike "Wonderettes," there's no true narrative in "Beehive," nor are there original characters. Instead, it's closer to the "impersonator" shows that were long popular in Las Vegas.
Director Dan Mojica drives the action at breakneck speed beginning with the opening number, "Let's Rock," by Claudia Brevis, one of two songs written for the show.
Speaking directly to the audience, the cast, dressed in brightly colored prom-style dresses and, of course, beehive hairdos, blitz through portions of a dozen girl-group hits including The Chiffons' "Sweet Talkin' Guy," The Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," and The Supremes' "Come See About Me."
The remaining songs in the two-hour performance are impersonations of important female artists of the era. Leslie Gore (played by Misty Cotton), Connie Francis (Kelli Provart), Tina Turner (Kamilah Marshall), Aretha Franklin (Stacy Francis) and Janis Joplin (Tricia Kelly) are featured.
Karole Foreman serves as the narrator, tracing the roots of the music from the turbulent decade - from frilly and conservative, to bold and brash. An eight-piece band, including musical director Alby Potts, transitions smoothly from style-to-style, delivering close replicas of the original recorded or live versions.
The performances are all rock solid and a few impersonations are spot-on, in particular that of Marshall, who is exhausting to watch as Turner belting out "Proud Mary." Equally impressive is Kelly's gravelly wail as Joplin on "Piece of My Heart."
The set and lighting (designed by Christopher Beyries and Jared A. Sayeg, respectively) pay homage to the early "living color" era of TV.
Polka-dot backdrops and a pair of 20-foot Aqua Net cans that actually spray are bathed in a pastel rainbow. And videos and still images of the period are projected on a circular screen, adding a bit more context to the music, particularly during Sonny & Cher's "The Beat Goes On."
But unlike "Wonderettes," which is framed by a thin but occasionally humorous plot, "Beehive" is not a musical, not even one of the jukebox variety. It's a revue.
Some theater purists may argue that a nightclub - not a theater - is the venue for a revue, but Mojica's direction adds a sense of theatricality to the evening, as does Foreman's naturalistic narration.
It's not a musical, but anyone who likes these songs will get a kick out of this journey back to the '60s.
Beehive - The `60s Musical
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 3.
Where: Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Information: 310-372-4477 or www.civiclightopera.com.
Our rating: 3 STARS
Jeff Favre is a freelance entertainment writer based in North Hollywood.