Workers by Day; Divas by Night
By Becky Donner
Everyone has heard of Clark Kent, a “mild-mannered reporter by day for a great metropolitan newspaper” who can turn into Superman in a moment’s notice. But there are women amongst our community who are also living a double life. Who are they, and how does a BEEHIVE fit into their lives?
Enter Carolyn Dunn and Kelly Worley, cosmetologists by day, Divas by night. Or take note of Sharron Garrett, victim advocate by day, Diva by night. Victoria Palmer is a customer service representative by day yet emerges as a Diva by night. Witness also Vecentia Williams, salon owner and operator by day, Diva by night. And there is Cecil Hazelwood, billing manager by day, Diva by night, or Tasha Dyer, who poses as a benefit program specialist by day yet emerges as a Diva by night. Finally, there is Ashley Smith, kindergarten teacher by day, Diva by night. They live in our communities and function as normal women each day, carrying on the duties of their jobs and families. Yet in just one month, these women will emerge on stage as the DIVAS in Halifax County Little Theatre’s BEEHIVE: The 60’s Rock Musical.
Director Victoria Thomasson and a cadre of BEEHIVE workers give new meaning to being as busy as bees. The set for BEEHIVE is being built by a crew wielding saws and electric drills. Costume fittings are taking place between songs, and a band is rehearsing all the great songs of the 60’s. Volunteers are signing up for all sorts of jobs with the show, and people are scurrying around town looking for just the right props to use. It’s all a part of putting on a huge musical extravaganza. Yet it is the Divas who will command the stage during the show, and they are being groomed in their roles. The original production of BEEHIVE occurred in 2004 when Little Theatre performed at Halifax County High School, yet now they perform mainly at The Prizery, where this BEEHIVE will occur.
Two of the Divas were in the original production, Carolyn Dunn and Cecil Hazelwood, and both of them say that while it is the same show in some ways, it is different in others. Cecil says, “The first time I heard the band rehearse the overture, I started getting the same fluttery feeling again that I get right before a show starts. I can’t believe that I am doing this again, but it is different in so many ways and is really exciting.” Dunn echoes Cecil’s feelings, adding, “This show is different, bigger and better. There are new people, new everything really, and it’s very exciting.”
Newcomer Ashley Smith is having her first experience as a Diva, and while she is working at least five days a week in rehearsals, she says, “It is totally worth it!” Another newcomer to the Diva status is Victoria Palmer, who was in last fall’s “The Man Who Saved Christmas.” She says, “I have made new friends who feel like old friends; we’re a family now, and this is a bond that will be forever.”
Sharron Garrett has been in a few other Little Theatre shows, “Smokey Joe’s Café” and “Crowns,” and says that this show is just as much fun although there is a lot of attention to detail in the songs and choreography. She adds, “We can add so much personality to the songs and dialogue and can really be someone else for a little while.” Diva Vencentia Williams says, “This is the most talented group of people I’ve ever been with. It’s the hardest project I’ve ever done in my life, working to sound good, look good, and move well. We have to be totally focused in what we’re doing. In just two days of rehearsals, I felt as if I had a new group of close friends.”
Kelly Worley, whom some people might remember as Rizzo in Little Theatre’s production of “Grease,” says that this is the first show she’s done since then, adding that this show is a lot of hard work yet is simply “adorable.” Finally, Tasha Dyer, who also impressed audiences in Little Theatre’s “The Man Who Saved Christmas” with her strong vocal performance, has been elevated to Diva status in BEEHIVE. While she said the rehearsals are tiring with all the physical demands, she also loves the experience and says, “I can be more ‘me’ when I’m singing these songs.” She especially enjoys singing her favorite, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” a Dusty Springfield original. Tasha is especially lucky to get to experience this show with her daughter Kennedy, who is part of the BEEHIVE band as percussionist, and not to be outdone, her younger daughter Cassidy is at rehearsals and can sing most of the songs with the Divas and fill in as a dancer with the dance troupe if someone is absent. She is truly a DIVA-in-training! Ashley Smith summarizes the feelings of them all when she says, “It is a wonderful experience. Working to create a new full show is hard work, but I’ve made such close new girl friends, and it’s a lot of fun too.”
When audiences see the work that has gone into this show, they will see why the term Diva is used. These women are learning an incredible number of songs with multiple parts, choreography to go with them, and changing clothes and hair styles to fit the decade. They will command the stage with their Diva presence.
The show opens Friday, April 25, and runs for ten performances. Evening shows are at 7:30 on April 25, 26, 29, and May 1, 2, and 3. Four matinees are scheduled at 3:00 on Saturdays and Sundays, April 26, 27, and May 3 and 4. Tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for students and can be purchased at The Prizery or by calling 572-8339 or online at www.prizery.com.
Clark Kent can step aside. His quick clothing changes are nothing compared to the Divas in BEEHIVE. They might not fly, but their voices will soar.