Wrapped in political, social and cultural upheaval, the musical revolution of the 1960s was almost inevitable. This month, Akron’s Carousel Dinner Theater and the Cleveland Play House each explore how the much-loved music of the times revolutionized an era.
Featuring six women in a high-energy, multimedia production, Carousel’s “Beehive” presents 37 songs set against the backdrop of historical events. “It was the first time in American history when women’s music went to the top of the Billboard charts,” says Eric Pugh, public relations manager for Carousel.
“Motown!” debuting at the Cleveland Play House, is an original revue by Paul Floriano. A record store called No Sound Like Motown is in financial trouble, so in true musical-theater fashion, everyone decides to put on a show. Three performers sing 40 favorite songs from the ’60s, especially music by black artists who brought their music into the mainstream.
“It was the golden era of popular music in this country,” Floriano says. “The songs have withstood the test of time.” Here’s how the tunes used in “Beehive” and “Motown!” stack up to each other on a variety of topics: — Tori Woods