By David Thompson
In 1776, we drove out the British. But in the 1960s they came back in force – and during that time, we welcomed them with open arms. The British Invasion of the ’60s brought bands like The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones, and British songstresses like Lulu and Petula Clark. The music of this era, now more than 50 years later, will be back again and this time on the Creative Cauldron stage in “SHOUT! The Mod Musical.”
Creative Cauldron will open “SHOUT!” this Friday. The musical, created by Phillip George and David Lowenstein in 2006, will run from May 2 – 25 at ArtSpace Falls Church.
“SHOUT!” follows five women in London as they are dealing with life and its problems. The women are named Red Girl, Green Girl, Blue Girl, Yellow Girl, and Orange Girl. Four are English and one, the Yellow Girl, is an American who made the pilgrimage to Great Britain to see Paul McCartney. In the musical the women write to advice columnist Gwendolyn Holmes seeking guidance for their lives. Through the columnist and the characters, the musical sheds light on changing ideas and attitudes towards women in the ’60s.
“She gives them advice on their hair, on their skin, on how to keep a man,” said “SHOUT!” Director Matt Conner, “all very period things that now you think, ‘really, did people really do that?’”
Conner wants to take a more realistic approach in the play, to allow the audience to connect with the characters rather than solely being entertained.
“When I was listening to the music, the music felt so honest, and so I wanted anyone who came to have an honest experience with the show,” Conner said. “The songs are about love and struggle; I want those to come through rather than the feeling it’s like a concert.”
Conner felt the original production of “SHOUT!” was an over-the-top depiction of the ’60s. He didn’t want a caricature; he wanted something real.
“I think people will reflect on a lot of history, of course if you went through the ’60s,” Conner said. “This isn’t the American idiom of Vietnam, but there is still the social class looking at a woman in the ’60s and thinking, ‘wow, haven’t things changed, the rights and the place of a woman are so different.’”
The cast for Creative Cauldrons “SHOUT!” includes Iyona Blake, Ashleigh King, Aimee Barnes, and Sarah Anne Sillers, who have all been in numerous productions in the Washington, D.C. area and throughout the East Coast. Rounding out the cast of women is Melissa Berkowitz, a theater student at George Mason University who will be making her professional debut with this production.
“We have a great cast,” Conner said. “They all sing their faces off with these great ’60s songs.”
“SHOUT! The Mod Musical” runs May 2 – 25. Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances on Sundays. The musical will be performed at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 S. Maple Ave. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $22 for students and seniors. For more information, visit creativecauldron.org or call 703-436-9948.