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Corydon to Clarksville: Get the noteworthy connection

If you’ve never been a fan of Janis Joplin’s music from the 1960s, you soon may be, if you’re fortunate enough to take in the musical ‘Beehive,’ currently playing at Derby Dinner Playhouse in Clarksville.
I wasn’t necessarily a fan of her music in the 60s because I thought she was in large part just screaming. But I was young, busy cooking and cleaning, and trying to get children through school so didn’t understand the depth of the lyrics or the passion in her bluesy, husky voice, until I heard it in person by Kelly Carpenter (sorry, no relation).
‘From the coal mines of Kentucky to the California sun,
‘Bobby shared the secrets of my soul,
‘Standing right beside me, Lord, in everything I done,
‘Bobby’s body kept me from the cold … ‘
And if you were agile enough to dance to ‘Proud Mary’ in those days, it will be difficult to stay seated at your Derby Dinner table when Brooke Aston belts out that Tina Turner number. Close your eyes, and you will think you’re at a Tina Turner concert. In the 1960s.
Aston’s rendition was, like Tina Turner’s, so filled with energy, it’s likely to stay with you for days to come.
The play bill contains numbers from The Chiffons, Pattie LaBelle, The Supremes, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, The Shirelles, Aretha Franklin and others. The evening winds up with ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’ by Mama Cass.
The cast includes six female vocalists, who appear in the 60’s fashions, including pink spikes, buttoned cardigan sweaters, mini skirts, boots, bell bottoms, flashy sashes and other wild stuff. Hair styles went from poofy and high to natural and nearly limp.
A co-worker of mine who went to see the play the week before Lorrie McKim and I did, warned me that the music was great, but there were some pretty weird costumes. Now I understand. What he called weird, I recall being taken with in those days. I particularly liked the fashionable hip-hugger bell bottoms, but I think I would pass on those today.
Also, it seemed each of the singers had been matched perfectly with the songs. A small band, made up of just five musicians, provided the accompaniment, also perfectly. That is the ultimate performance, isn’t it?
The band featured Bill Corcoran, piano conductor; Darryel Cotten, percussion; Rob Whitmer, bass; Jim Schweickart, guita; and Gary Falk, tenor saxophone.
The vocalists are all professionals, some of whom have performed at Derby Dinner previously. Besides Aston and Carpenter, the cast includes Heather Paige Folsom, Shelese Franklin, Michelle Wagoner Johnson (Shelby in ‘Steel Magnolias’ at Derby Dinner) and Gayle King (Charlotte in ‘Charlotte’s Web’).
There is a Corydon connection at Derby Dinner, too. It has to do with desserts, which are served during intermission. The maestro is none other than Elvin Barksdale, whose confections include Hummingbird Cake (one of the ‘richest, unusual and delicious cakes we’ve ever served,’ the menu says), Chocolate Mint Tart, Coconut Creme Pie and Banana Chocolate Chip Cake. There are other house specials as well, and any of these are served at an extra cost, but the buffet, which opens at 6 p.m., is hardy enough to fill most patrons to the brim.
Curtain time is 7:45 p.m., but matinee performances are offered on Sundays beginning at 1:30 and Wednesdays at 1.
For more information, including season tickets, individual and group ticket prices, call 1-812-288-8281. Tell them Lorrie and Jackie sent you.

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