She’s an Emmy winner and Grammy nominee, as well as a two-time Helen Hayes Award winner.
And now Felicia Boswell has another distinction. She’s one of the performers featured in “Beehive: The ‘60s Musical,” a show opening the season at the Walnut Street Theater after months of a long, long hiatus due to the pandemic.
The musical, which runs from Sept. 28 through Oct. 31, is a celebration of that era’s powerful female voices whose music has stood the test of time – including Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and more.
And Boswell, who plays Wanda in the show, gets to sing some of the more than two dozen timeless hits in the show, like “It’s My Party,” “You Don’t Own Me,” and many, many others.
Growing up in Alabama, Boswell says that ever since she was five years old, singing and performing was the only life she knew.
“My family had a weekly gospel radio show, and from the time I was five years old, I sang with my siblings. I didn’t know my life without performing. In fact, most of the skills I have today were formed back then. I’ll always be thankful to my family for that and I’ll never forget my roots,” she said.
Eventually, Boswell’s talents brought her to New York City where she began performing on Broadway.
Over the years, she’s appeared in many roles in many shows on the Great White Way, including Josephine Baker in “Shuffle Along,” Diana Ross in “Motown,” and Felicia Farrell in “Memphis” among others.
She’s also done several national tours, appeared off-Broadway and lent her talents to many regional productions, including a stint at the Kimmel Center.
But, she mentions, “this is my first time at the Walnut and I’m enjoying it very much, especially playing Diana Ross once again.”
Has her interpretation of Ross changed over the years? “Absolutely,” Boswell volunteers. “As human beings we are always changing. We change and evolve. In this show, we try to do what the writer intended us to do – recreate a lot of backstories for the women of the ‘60s.”
And to get in the mood to best play her character, Boswell says she takes what she can from her own experiences. “I feel the characters close to me. I’m merely here to tell their stories.”
And what stories they are, she adds. “I’m not pretending to be the people I play. I’m just expressing the joys and sadness of the time, taking them on their own individual journey through a time when women didn’t have much of a say in how things were or given a voice to express themselves.”
For the future, Boswell says she hopes to sing more amazing music and tell even more fascinating stories everywhere she can, touring in many more different projects and concentrating on more TV and film work.
“After lots of hard work and determination, I made my dreams come true, but I hate to give advice to others. But I would say to tailor yourself to what you’d like to experience in life. And never forget that there is a space for you. Learn to take up that space and never, ever lose the dream,” she shared.