Baby It’s You Brings back Memory after Memory
Â Outside, the night was wet and cold. Inside the Pasadena Playhouse, things were quite different. With a combination of dialog and music, the story of the R&B female group the Shirelles began to unfold.
Don’t even think about the fact that this story has been told. Don’t try to compare it to shows that have tried to bring to life the music from the and 60’s. And don’t think for a moment that you have seen it all before. Baby it’s you brings a fresh new approach to the stage by raising the level of the music and singing so high that you feel as though you are at a first class night club watching a first class performance.
Â “The show is about the sixties indeed but not as the story has been told before. A Jewish housewife, Florence Greenberg, in suburban New Jersey wanted to get out of the house. An African American songwriter, Luther Dixon, didn’t see why he couldn’t run a company and call the shots. And they didn’t see why society shouldn’t let them be together.
Florence was the first to realize that the groups weren’t interchangeable, and she made careers “instead” of one-hit-wonders. She recorded black artist, and put their faces on LP jackets, instead of graphics.
In the studio, songwriters and arrangers found a hitherto undiscovered new world where the passion of black gospel fit itself into the formalism of classic American pop. It all played out against Cold War confrontation and the first rumblings of civil unrest. Everything would change “Any Day Now.”
While war raged over Seas, the fight for the dollars spent on music raged on. Groups like the Beatles, Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight and the Pips fought to be the darlings of the American youth. When the music changed, Flower power had a new voice and spoke to a new listener, the culture of the country had changed, but Florence Greenberg survived. She survived the Beatles, the departure of Bacharach and David, loss of the Shirelles. And last of all, she survived the loss of songwriter Luther Dixon. AM was fading, FM was on the horizon, rock ‘n’ roll had died, the twist was in fashion, and JFK was “Camelot”…it was a brief and shining moment. Florence and Luther’s unrequited love story never came to pass, but the fire and passion inside, transformed to the music “that will last forever,” according to the plays Director.
The evening comes to be one of reflection of all the happened and of all that was good about the sixties. Without question, there were trying times during those years but the music made it better then and the music brought to life in this wonderful production makes things better now. It’s about the feeling. The feeling of hope and love, and dreams.
The Shirelles disappeared but their music never did. This is proven on a rainy night in the Pasadena when the story and the music lives again.
Baby It’s You runs at the Pasadena Playhouse through December 20th, 2009 Contact the theater for performance times and dates.