BY SANDY STAGGS
Seasoned actor and performer Celia Blitzer is accustomed to wearing Big Hair and high-rise wigs.
Hailing from Maryland where she once played Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray” IN Baltimore, Miss Blitzer is celebrating her fifth year in the Upstate in yet another big hair show: “Beehive: The 60’s Musical” with the Mill Town Players in Pelzer this weekend through August 12.
In fact, the 30-something performer has been involved in theatre almost non-stop since relocating to our fair city. You’ve seen her in “The Rocky Horror Show” and “Hands on a Hardbody” at Spartanburg Little Theatre,” “Sister Act: The Musical” and “Ghost: The Musical” at Centre Stage and “Mary Poppins” at Greenville Little Theatre,” just to name a few.
In “Beehive,” she plays Peggy, the narrator who recounts growing up in the turbulent 1960s and the wonderful music that changed her life, as she and her four bffs perform some 30 of the greatest hits from the era.
The show spans the years 1960 through 1969, Blitzer says, and through the musical selections and changing fashions, intertwines “the women’s rights and civil rights movement.”
“It’s a celebration of the women of rock and roll in the 1960s and how they influenced the women’s movement,” Blitzer says.
Among the many tunes she sings with the gals sing are the titular “Beehive,” “The Name Game,” “Sweet Talking Guy,” “One Fine Day,” “Walking in the Rain” and “To Sir With Love.”
And if you happened to catch “Beehive” in the Centre Stage production a few years ago, Blitzer says Mill Town patrons are in for a real treat, because the show has been completely re-vamped.
“The rights to this show were sold about a year and half ago, so anyone who has seen the show in the past or lightened to the original cast recording, this is a brand new show,” she says.
And with a title like “Beehive,” one would expect a lot of wig changes for the cast.
“I only have to wear two wigs, but some of the girls have three or four,” Blitzer said referring to her partners in rock and roll Ashley Wettlin, Beverly Clowney, Meris Privette, and wig designer Tiffany Nave.
Blitzer says some of these classics are surprisingly quite difficult to sing: “These girl groups had some tight harmonies and Kimberlee (our director) has us dancing in every song . “It’s not easy to do the twist or mashed potato and maintains the breath.”
Mill Town Players fans will get a double dose of female empowerment over the next few months as the company’s fifth season kicks off with a similar sugary pop musical, “The Marvelous Wonderettes” set in the 1950s and ‘60s.
“Thankfully, there are only about five songs in the new version of ‘Beehive’ that overlap but these but these songs are all hits and musical shows, they sell,” she says. “People love them.”
But even during the run of this show, Blitzer already has two other works on the horizon.
“Theatre is the air that I breather.”
She is assistant directing and costuming another lady-centric musical “Dreamgirls” at Centre Stage, as well as performing in that company’s uber-popular rock show “Shaboom, Shaboom.”
“I have auditioned five years in a row and finally got in,” she says.
Next spring the actor says she will likely take a hard-earned break, noting that her mother recently inquired again about Celia’s prospects for a husband.
“When do I have I time?” she replied.
So, listen up fellas, Celia Blitzer is soon “casting” her next role: Mr. Blitzer.
“Beehive” is directed and choreographed by Mill Town regular collaborator Kimberlee Ferreira with musical direction by the power couple Joshua and Hannah Morton.
The Mill Town Players’ “BEEHIVE: THE 60S MUSICAL” runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through July 20 – Aug. 12 at the Historic Pelzer Auditorium, 214 Lebby Street in Pelzer. For tickets, call (864)947-8000 or visit www.milltownplayers.org.
Tickets to Beehive are only $10, with discounts for seniors, military, and students, and can be purchased online at www.milltownplayers.org, by calling (864)947-8000, or at the door.