Walnut Street Theatre celebrates return to stage with 5 shows

America's oldest theatre is raising the curtains for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Karen Rogers takes us to the historic Walnut Street Theatre in this week's 6abc Loves the Arts.

The Walnut Street Theatre is celebrating its return to the stage in a big way with 5 new shows.

"There will be a plentiful, bountiful season," says Bernard Havard, the Walnut Street Theatre's President and Producing Artistic Director.

This year marks the theatre's 213th anniversary.

"It's the only theater in the world that survived as long as we have," proclaims Bernard.

The season opens with Beehive - The '60s Musical, starting September 28th.

"It's honoring the female vocalists of 1960s," lays out Richard Stafford, Beehive's Director.

He calls it a chronological journey of the decade's top tunes.

"We start with the early 60s; Leslie Gore was a female vocalist," Richard says. "We really go into the girl groups, The Ronnettes, The Supremes, of course, up through Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin."

The show's Beehive name is a nod to the hair-do that was all the rage in the 1960s.

Kristyn Pope, Beehive's Assistant Choreographer states, "A lot of women would use soup cans to come in to help build their hair up to this high level."

She says the trend was a form of self-expression.

"In the 1960s, there was a huge social shift. You were seeing women's roles changing. You were seeing unity in society," she explains, "Like bees would work together in a colony. It's kind of very relevant, I think, to even what we're going through in our current times."

As the curtain rises once more, the historic theatre is channeling that nostalgic energy, by breaking out The Beehive Dance.

"The Beehive Dance is kind of anything," defines Richard, "The monkey, the frug, the twist, of course."

And audiences are very much encouraged to join in the fun.

"We've all been through so much in the past year," crystalizes Kristyn Pope, "Sing along and dance along, and celebrate this wonderful time of unity.

Beehive, the Musical opens September 28th and runs through October 31st.

Walnut Street Theatre | Instagram | Facebook
825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Tickets for the season on sale now

Beehive - The '60s Musical
Show runs September 28th through Oct. 31
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