Review: DIVE RIGHT IN: DEPOT THEATRE’S “THE BIKINIS” IS A SWIMMINGLY GOOD TIME!

The Bikinis at Depot Theatre, Westport, NY
What: Created and Written by Ray Roderick and James Hindman, the musical “The Bikinis” joins together an all girl band from the 60s that are reunited over a vote to either save or sell the Sandy Shores Mobile Home (Beach Resort). Upbeat songs from the 60s through the 80s move the story from under the boardwalk through various events in the lives of the band members.
Where: Depot Theatre, 6705 Main Street, Westport, New York 12993, 518-962-4449, 
Ticket price: $29/adult, $27/senior/student, group discounts are available. 
When: Westport NY: July 17,18,20,24,25 at 8 pm and July 19,23,26 at 5 pm.

(WESTPORT) Rain or shine, a fun beach romp this year is at the Depot Theatre’s production of “The Bikinis,” showing through July 26th. This musical treat transports the audience to the sandy shore with over 25 songs performed by an all-girl 60s beach band reunited to perform at a Florida beach resort, 20 years after breaking up.

I sit in the sold-out audience and enjoy the old-fashioned feel of the set created by Scenic Designer Bonnie Brewer. Brewer’s set conjures up the feeling of campy beach movies of the 60s with vintage slides projected in the background. She cleverly hides the musicians behind the beach sand fence and fills the stage with bright primary colors and wide vertical stripes. She playfully extends the set throughout the theatre, filling the walls with flip-flops, sand buckets and beachwear. 

The Bikinis at Depot Theatre, Westport, NY
The musical is set in two acts (Yup, it's a two piece.) with the first act introducing the audience to the present day women, long retired from their Jersey Shore girl band days. Brought together at a fundraiser for the Sandy Shores Trailer Park Association, two sisters (Annie and Jodi), their cousin (Karla) and a friend (Barbara) reminisce about how their singing group started at the beach in the summer of 1964. 

The women mock their former beach bodies and tease the audience about how the girl group won’t be seen in their bikinis with songs like “Itsy, Bitsy, Teeny, Weeny, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”

It’s a strong ensemble cast that Director Katy Blake has pulled together. Blake’s cast of equity actors demonstrate their professional acting chops with every move. Whether harmonizing or performing a solo, these four women fill the stage with song. There are numerous cute bits like when they sing “Under the Boardwalk” and “Where the Boys Are” and banter about their mutual crush for Lifeguard 23 or sing “The Twist” and pull out some retro dance moves like the Monkey.   

Jane Cooke is dynamic as ditsy cousin Karla, adding blasts of perfect comedic timing that help move the story along.  Annie Edgerton plays emotional older sister Annie who is lobbying hard for the residents to hold onto to their beachfront properties. A vibrant Edgerton uses song and dance to conjure beautiful images of a simpler time.

The Bikinis at Depot Theatre, Westport, NY
Jeneen Terrana (sister Jodi), as the unsentimental lawyer, tries to convince the owners of the renamed Sandy Shores Mobile Home Beach Resort to sell to developers. Terrana seamlessly switches back and forth between her carefree past character and unhappy present day self.  Johnetta Alston Lake (Barbara) flaunts her gospel roots with every motion, adding depth to this beach fest.

The first act moves quickly with some rapid-fire costume changes. Alston Lake channels her inner “Bond, James Bond” with “Secret Agent Man” while Edgerton brings out laughs with a flamboyant version of “These Boots are Made for Walkin’.”    

The Bikinis at Depot Theatre, Westport, NY
The second act has “the Bikinis” remembering when they “traded in our two pieces for a new peace” recollecting the Kennedy assassination, Woodstock and even Lifeguard 23’s draft into the Vietnam War. There is a lot of flower power with commanding renditions of such classics as “Dedicated to the One I Love” and “What Have They Done To My Song.”  The women transition through the 80s and 90s to the current beach club fundraiser where they rekindle friendships and resolve the reasons for the breakup of their all-girl band.   
   
This musical is great fun for the whole family. Kick off your shoes, sit back or dance in the aisles. This bubblegum frolic is like a good beach read, not a lot of plot but a lot of entertainment. “The Bikinis” is summertime fun without the sandy feet.

The Bikinis at Depot Theatre, Westport, NY
The Bikinis' Cast/Crew:
Director/Choreographer: Katy Blake
Karla: Jane Cooke
Annie: Annie Edgerton
Barbara: Johnetta Alston Lake
Jodi: Jeneen Terrana
Musical Director: Joe Schermann
Stage Manager: Sarah Overturf
Scenic Design: Bonnie Brewer
Lightening Design: Margaret Swick
Sound Design: Jim Carroll
Technical Director: Kati Long
Drummer: Craig Johnson

Songs from “The Bikinis”
ACT 1
It’s in His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)
Itsy Bitsy … Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
Heat Wave
Be My Baby
Under the Boardwalk
Where the Boys Are
Chapel of Love
Hava Nagilia (surfer version)
Remember (Walking in the Sand)
The Twist
60’s Dance Crazy Medley
Beach Blankets (Boards and Balls)
You Love Me
Secret Agent Man
These Boots are Made for Walkin’
Shakin’ in the Sand
In My Bikini

ACT 2
Time of the Season
Incense and Peppermints
Dedicated to the One I Love
Look What You’ve Done to My Song, Ma
Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)
Simple Song of Freedom
Midnight Blue
When Will I be Loved?
I’m Every Woman
I Will Survive
Last Dance
It’s Raining Men
Sandy Shores

* No payment was received for the writing of this review. This review is based solely on the opinion of the author. 

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™

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