The Bikinis – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Even if you have never walked on hot beach sands in a bikini, you will have a lot to share with a quartet of women who once upon a time donned the scanty outfit to enter and win a singing contest twenty years earlier on a boardwalk in New Jersey. The foursome are enjoying a reunion at their favorite Sandy Shores Mobile Home Beach Resort to help determine of the greedy land developers will convince the residents to sell their trailer park spaces so the group can construct luxury condos on the site.

Thanks to co-writers Ray Roderick and James Hindman and composer and musical arranger Joe Baker, you’re invited to a beach party musical “The Bikinis” at Waterbury’s Seven Angels Theatre where their Stage Seven Community troupe will be putting down the plaid beach blankets and rubbing on the suntan lotion weekends until Sunday, August 18.

You’ve made good friends with the “Jersey Boys,” but now it’s time to make room on stage for the Jersey Girls. In 1964, four B.F. F.’s (best friends forever) on a lark enter a talent contest wearing (you guessed it) bikinis and win the Belmar Beach boardwalk banners. Two teenage sisters from Paramus, Jodi (Erin West Reed) and Annie (Brittany Mulcahy), join forces with their impetuous cousin Karla (Anna Hicks) from Philadelphia and their best bud Barbara (Zani Scott) from Staten Island to make their summer fun memorable and you’re invited along for the roller coaster ride.

With a parade of almost thirty favorite tunes like “It’s Raining Men,” “Dedicated to the One I Love,” “It’s in His Kiss,” “I’m Every Woman,” “Under the Boardwalk” and “Chapel of Love” as well as brand new songs like “In My Bikini” and “Sandy Shores,” you’ll find yourself dancing in your seat and humming right along.

According to Ray Roderick, who started out juggling three hats for the initial show, as creator, choreographer and director, “The show is about fun, females and friendship. It’s 75% songs we know and love and 25% new material. It showcases women in a positive way, written by men who love them.”

Calling it “a joyous party,” Roderick finds it “an easy, breezy show where the women don’t stop. They are a talent pool that delivers and has fun in the process.” Stating that the musical’s title is a metaphor for the struggle for equality women face, he feels they are empowered by it, even as they are still vulnerable. The quartet of females in the show relive their past but focus, decades later when they reunite, on the here and now.

The great rock and roll music of the 60’s and 70’s is wrapped around the original talent contest where the goal of the girls was to get on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and fast forward to their gathering when they meet to save the Sandy Shores Mobile Home Beach Resort, a favorite landmark on the Jersey beach that is being threatened by a land developer who wants to take over and build condos.

Back in 2007, at the Briny Breezes Trailer Park in Florida, the owners were each offered a million dollars to move and “The Bikinis” is loosely based on that true story. In addition, it touches on the innocent fun of that era as well as the Vietnam War, the Woodstock event, flower children and the rise of women’s voices. “The Bikinis” is “a coming of age story that views the world through their eyes.”

For tickets ($30), call Seven Angels Theatre, One Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at www.sevenangelstheatre.org. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Come rediscover the great songs of the 60’s and 70’s as this one hit wonder girls’ group reunites as women. Come hear them roar.

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