Created by Kerry Meads and Vanda Eggington, six performers cover songs from a wide array of important artists ranging from Aretha Franklin to Joni Mitchell.
Although there are parallels to another jukebox musical, Beehive: the 60’s Musical, Meads and Eggington’s show still stands on its own with well-placed song choices and thoughtful monologues.
While generally light in tone, some tunes focus on heavy topics, including racism, sexism and war. Relevant subjects are handled tastefully and gracefully during those serious moments.
Angela Chatelain Avila, Catie Grady, Rebecca Jade, Janaya Mahealani Jones, Sydney Joyner and Joy Yandell showcase their vocals in melodies ranging from rock and roll to R&B. Each of them gets solos to shine, but also sound just as amazing in group numbers, such as a beautiful version of “What the World Needs Now is Love” (a scene that is more emotional following the passing of composer, Burt Bacharach.)
A couple of the renditions in the production that strike a chord are Jones’ electric take on Tina Turner’s legendary single, “River Deep – Mountain High,” Grady’s subtly intense interpretation of Janis Ian’s controversial pop song, “Society’s Child” and Avila’s energetic and upbeat rendition of Petula Clark’s hit, “I Know a Place.” Several of the ensemble members get to play instruments in standout sequences.Backing up the singers and occasional instrumentalists is the on-stage band, which is made up of keyboardist, Ben Read, guitarist, Steve Gouveia, percussionist, Dave Rumely and bassist, Oliver Shirley. They display just as much versatility as the singers, and even have a few fun interactions with the stars.
Meads stages the 90-minute revue with swift pacing. As a co-writer and director, she also knows when to feature big belt-heavy musical numbers, and when to stage peaceful and calming scenes.
Mike Buckley’s set, Jemima Dutra’s costumes and Christine Wisner Hall’s choreography all come together to capture the spirit of the decade.
The text in Lacio Pontes’ projections were a bit hard to read on opening night. However, they strongly feature eye-catching pictures and incorporate memorable clips of “The Ed Sullivan Show” and the television documentary, “Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution.”
As a tribute to important and influential women, R-E-S-P-E-C-T is a crowd pleasing gas. There’s a wide range of music to appeal to everyone from Boomers to Gen Z and beyond.
Show times are Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m and 7:00 p.m, Thursdays at 7:00 p.m, Fridays at 7:00 p.m, Saturdays at 2:00 p.m and 7:00 p.m and Sundays at 2:00 p.m and 7:00 p.m.