Music directors: Jordan Norris and Mike McFee
Choreographer: Valerie Hobbs Director: Bonnie Hargrove
Lead actors: "Groovy Ladies" Angy Chancay, Elaine Lake, Velma Polk and Susan Smith; and "Outta Sight Guys" Brad Ballington, Kwame Johnson and Gregg McClain
The plot: Presented by Beaufort Theatre Company, this fast-paced, high-energy romp through one of the most impassioned decades of the 20th century will ring a lot of musical memory bells for those who "came of age" during this time of lava lamps, toga parties, "Charlie's Angels" and disco mania. Attendees will rediscover the heart and soul of this era with the pulsating rhythms and harmonies of its ground-breaking music.
The story behind the show: More than 50 top songs from the era will be featured, including the music of The Doobie Brothers, The Emotions, Barry Manilow, the Bee Gees, Helen Reddy, Marvin Gaye, Carly Simon, K.C. & The Sunshine Band, The Carpenters and LaBelle, to name just a few. The two-act performance will include such iconic songs as, "We Are Family," "Stayin' Alive," "The Hustle," "Y.M.C.A.," "Peace Train," "I Am Woman," Afternoon Delight" and "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover."
Costumes: The 1970s was a decade of self-expression rather than designer label driven. All those of "a certain age" will remember mood rings, tie dye tops, bell-bottomed pants, butterfly-collared shirts and hot pants, and the breakout style for men, leisure suits. Admit it -- you felt good in polyester. To bring back that feeling, there will be a costume contest on opening night, Sept. 6, with prizes awarded. "We want the opening night audience to set the tone for the show and the rest of the performances," Hargrove says.
Director's take: "The show is a blast," Hargrove says. "You cannot stop smiling, laughing and dancing in your seat for 90 minutes. The costumes are enough to get your memories started and then when the first song is performed the ride begins through a decade of music that is legendary. I chose the play selfishly. I grew up singing all these songs and I must admit I spent a little too much time on the disco floor."
Behind the scenes: In all theatre production there is always a standing gag, Hargrove says. In the case of "8 Track" is it is the Pet Rock. The perfect friend for the "everyone's best friend but no one's lover" character, played by actor Greg McLain, who sings "Alone Again Naturally" to his rock after being spurned by the other girls in the show. "The cast has become so fond the rock and how Greg relates to the rock," Hargrove says, "that the rock will just show up on stage at strange times only to remind Greg he is not alone." Many of the actors have memories of their own 1970s platform shoes and have bragged about how high the heels were, but now 30-plus years later the size of the heel matters, but in a much different way.
IF YOU GO
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6, 7 and 14, 3 p.m. Sept. 8 and 15
WHERE: University of South Carolina Center for the Arts, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort
COST: $22; $20 for seniors; $10 for students
DETAILS: 843-521-414; www.uscbcenterforthearts.com