MUSCATINE — While the Wilton Fine Arts Guild's upcoming musical production is titled "Beehive," it will explore far more than the stand-out hair and fashion of the 1960s.
President of the guild, Connie Hoekstra, said the dinner theater production of "Beehive — The 60s Musical" will examine women's empowerment, as well as the female powerhouses, such as Janis Joplin and Tina Turner, who helped make the decade's music so memorable.
"We represent the change for women in the 1960s," Hoekstra said. "It went all the way from Lesley Gore at the very beginning of the '60s singing 'it's my party and I'll cry if I want to' over a guy, to then Janis Joplin in the late '60s, who certainly was her own strong woman."
When searching for the right 34th annual production for the group, Hoekstra said she took her time selecting the best choice the mostly female team.
"We have this group of women that just have tremendous voices," she said. "And we came across this (musical) that's all women and it just seemed to fit. And the music that came from that decade is a really wonderful choice. It's great to see local women come on stage and take on the persona of Tina Turner or Aretha Franklin."
"Beehive," an off-Broadway revue created by Larry Gallagher in the 1980s, takes the audience through a transition of women singing through everyday life, such as during the beginning slumber party scene, to using music to find their own voices, she said. Gore's "It's My Party" is later matched with a rendition of the 1963 hit "You Don't Own Me," for example.
With the current feminist movement taking over mainstream media, Hoekstra said it felt like the perfect time to revive the musical.
"It's really hit some of us," she said. "And other songs like 'Abraham, Martin and John,' about the death of people to good causes, like Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy, that's also in the 60s. We lost some really important people. And that song kind of hit (us) too. Some people kind of choked up hearing that."
But Hoekstra ensures the audience the retro revue is slated to be "uplifting and lighthearted," with the set design paying homage to the psychedelic patterns and colors traditionally associated with the Woodstock-era.
"We have a really wonderful backdrop and a jukebox, and it'll be fun for the audience to pick up on some of the lingo that they may remember or weren't even a part of," she said. "And of course all of the wonderful fashion and hairstyles."
The Wilton Fine Arts Guild will perform this weekend and next weekend at the Wilton Community Center, 1215 Cypress St.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for performances on Friday and Saturday, plus March 23 and 24, with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at noon for this Sunday's matinee.
Reservations are necessary to attend the production, with tickets available for $25, which includes the cost of dinner. To make a reservation, call 563-732-2323.