Quad-Cities Artists In Conversation This Week Features Shelley Cooper From Circa ’21’s ‘Beehive’
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THIS WEEK: Educator, director and performance artist Shelley Cooper who is at the helm of Circa ‘21’s BEEHIVE!
What attracted you to BEEHIVE?
Beehive is a 60’s concert to celebrate how music was influenced by the height of the civil rights movement and the women’s movement (and vice versa). This music is a lot of fun and it amplifies the voices of women, which I am really drawn to, especially right now. I feel very called to this kind of work.
What’s your connection to the music of the 60’s?
I grew up listening to this music, the “oldies” station either in the house or in the car with my father. My father taught me all of the songs, the bands, and we would sing along to these songs especially in the car. My father also taught me all of the iconic dance moves such as “the twist”, “the mashed potato”, “the jerk” and more at Cooper family weddings.
How do you thread a creative needle through a music revue? What was your way in?
I am a feminist so any chance I get to amplify women’s voices, I’ll take it! I love making actors feel really empowered and confident through showcasing their unique gifts, choreography, collaborating, and music. Specifically, my work doing shows at Walt Disney World and Universal studios taught me a lot about style, precision, and creating pictures through choreography, which has been a lot of fun to create with this insanely talented cast of women.
Why is this a good piece for this moment?
First, this music is a lot of fun and easy to relate to, I think we need a LOT of that right now. Secondly, the 1960’s was the height of the Civil Rights movement. People began standing up for racial injustice and equal rights for women. If it wasn’t for the 1960’s, I would not be sitting here as director of this show. I think there are direct parallels with the 2017 Women’s March and the Black Lives Matter Protests. 2020 and 2021 has given us all a lot of time to think about these ideas once again and I’m hopeful positive, inclusive, changes are on the horizon.
What has been your favorite part of this experience?
Working with the incredible production staff and cast, collaborating and making magic once again. I especially loved the energy staging rehearsals!
What’s next for you?
I’ll be doing my one-woman show “La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas” at the International Orlando Fringe Festival for three performances 5/23, 5/26, and 5/29. I am also doing my other one-woman show, “Mary and Ethel: How I Learned to Sing” as a part of Mississippi Bend Players summer season on the Brunner Theatre Center with Mason Moss at the end of June.
BEEHIVE is now playing at Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse, 1828 3rd Ave., Rock Island.
Beehive the ’60s Musical is a fun, frothy flashback to the fabulous females who unmistakably left their mark on 1960s pop music. Matching big voices with big hairdos, Beehive features nonstop hits from the early decade bubble gum classics to the explosive late ‘60s soul sound. Paying tribute to performers such as Brenda Lee, The Supremes, Connie Francis, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, and Aretha Franklin, this irresistible revue will fly you back in time to experience firsthand the music that thrilled a generation. Come rock out with “Respect,” “Natural Woman,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “One Fine Day,” “Downtown” and more! With two dozen beloved hits, the show takes you on a journey through song, documenting the dramatic changes that America underwent during the ‘60s. If you like 50s and 60s music, BEEHIVE The ‘60s Musical will have you dancing in your seats and coming back for more!
For tickets, check out Circa21.com!