If The Shangri-Las were more like The Supremes they might be Betty & The Belrays, a '60s girl group imagined by author/director William Electric Black for his musical of the same name. Set in Detroit during the Civil Rights Era, Betty & The Belrays is a tale of three white female singers who challenge a racially divided society by singing for a black record label. Black weaves comedy throughout his treatment of sensitive racial issues, though the musical forthrightly addresses the issues of cultural identification with music. There are 13 original songs, varying in style from The Bobettes to The Vandellas.
The musical is a high-spirited, family-friendly production that has been developed collaboratively by William Electric Black (a.k.a. Ian Ellis James, a seven-time Emmy winner for Sesame Street), and composer and instrumentalist Valerie Ghent (arranger/keyboardist for Ashford & Simpson). The show features an onstage Motown band led by Ghent, authentic '60s choreography and a cast of seven.
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