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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

St. Mark’s Players Bye Bye Birdie

By • May 16th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of St. Mark’s Player’s production of Bye Bye Birdie [MP3 5:01 1.4MB].

Laura: Sunday afternoon we saw St. Mark’s Players‘ production of Bye Bye Birdie in Washington DC.

Mike: Bye Bye Birdie is a musical with lyrics by Lee Adams, music by Charles Strauss, and book by Michael Stuart. Set in the 1950’s, Bye Bye Birdie is the story of Conrad Birdie. A hip thrusting, rock and roll superstar, Conrad is drafted into the army so a publicity stunt is devise to premiere the song, “One Last Kiss” on the Ed Sullivan Show. That is when things go awry.

Laura: This show was really energetic. Really upbeat, lots of singing and dancing numbers, lots of good energy. It was a big cast, but I had a really good time.

Mike: I think you’ll enjoy this show if you like the 50’s. There were lots of memorabilia on the screen at the back of the stage that was shown. Howdy Doody and Leave it to Beaver. Tons of different things that you’ll recognize. A lot I didn’t recognize since I’m not from the 50’s. I did recognize a lot of the music that was playing before the show started. I liked that because it helped us get into the mood of what the times were like.

Laura: Albert Peterson, Conrad Birdie’s agent was played by Nathan Tatro. He did a good job. He had a lot of energy. His personality was a little over the top, but I think it fit his character. He was kind of outgoing. He had big sweeping gestures. He was overly exasperated when Rose announced she was leaving. But I think he did a good job overall.

Mike: Albert’s secretary and fiancee, Rose Alvarez was played by Jennifer Reitz. I really liked her role. She was very fiery and had a lot of spirit and spunk. She did a great job of getting that out there. I really liked how she interacted with Albert’s mother, played by Maureen Roult. The opening song, “An English Teacher,” was sung by Rosie. She really set the tone and the standard for the rest of the evening.

Laura: Albert came up with an idea to generate one last piece of publicity before Conrad Birdie was drafted into the army. Albert found a small town in Ohio that had a fan club. They took Conrad down so that he could kiss the president of the fan club and stay at the home of Mr. and Mrs. MacAfee. Mr. MacAfee was played by Larry Grey and Mrs. MacAfee was played by Jenna Jones. They both did a good job. They had a good scene in there called “Kids Today” where they were lamenting about children and how they grow up too fast and how they think they know everything. I thought that was a really good song.

Mike: The character of Conrad Birdie was based of of the real life adventures of Elvis Presley who entered the army. Conrad Birdie was played by Christopher Guy Thorn. He did a pretty good job. He had some outlandish costumes that he had to get into for some of the songs he did. He also had a fan club that followed him around from train station to train station and from concert to concert. I really liked the songs he did. I guess the biggest number he did was “Honestly Sincere.” He sang that and had everybody wooing and fainting and falling at his feet. He really enjoyed that scene. You could see his eyes twinkling as people would faint. It was a funny scene especially when the members of the city council started fainting too.

Laura: The choreography in Bye Bye Birdie I thought was really good. Lots of high energy in the many dance numbers. The choreography was done by Brandon Kraft.

Mike: This is the first time we’ve been to see a show put on by the St. Mark’s Players. The performances are done at the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill in DC. When we got there we realized why we haven’t seen a show. The theater has just over 100 seats and the performance we were at was sold out. The show is playing for two more nights, this Friday and Saturday. If you can get tickets you should go ahead and plan to see it. But I’m willing to bet it’s probably sold out.

I guess that raises the question of why St. Mark’s doesn’t do more performances? Is it better to only have eight shows and they’re all sold out? Or is it better to have twelve shows or an extra weekend or an extra performance and not quite sell out. I’m not sure how that works out, but it seems like St. Mark’s has an interesting problem if they’re selling out every show. Maybe they should raise ticket prices or add another performance or add another weekend to their run. That maybe why we’ve never been able to go out and do reviews for them because they really don’t need the extra exposure that a review can bring to them.

Laura: Bye Bye Birdie is playing for one more weekend, this Friday and Saturday at 8 PM at the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington DC. This is a fun upbeat show and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Mike: Bye Bye Birdie was two and a half hours long with one intermission.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

Cast

  • Albert Peterson: Nathan Tatro
  • Rose Alvarez: Jennifer Reitz
  • Ursula Merkle: Ruthie Rado
  • Nancy: Rebecca Poyatt
  • Alice/Teen Trio: Eve Cox
  • Margie/Teen Trio: Samantha Gaies
  • Deborah Sue/Teen Trio: Susannah Eig
  • Susie/Sad Girl 1: Lily Adelstein
  • Teen Girl: Lexi Haddad
  • Teen Girl/Ad Girl 2: Shannon O’Brien
  • Gloria Rasputin/1st Reporter/Teen Girl/Adult Chorus: Jennifer Blanton
  • Harvey Johnson: Nicky Joynson
  • Teen Boy/Freddie: Will Athey-Lloyd
  • Teen Boy: Bobby Daly
  • Teen Boy/Traveler: Kyle Archie
  • Teen Boy/Shriner/Maude’s Cutomer: Brandon Kraft
  • Kim MacAfee: Shannon Sarna
  • Mrs. Doris MacAfee: Jenna Jones
  • Mr. Harry MacAfee: Larry Grey
  • Mrs. Mae Peterson: Maureen Roult
  • Charles F. Maude/TV Stage Manager/Policeman: Stuart Denyer
  • Maude’s Dishwasher/Trainman/Shriner/3rd Reporter: David Benson
  • Maude’s 1st Customer/Shriner/Town Folk: Fairfield Butt
  • Mayor/Shriner: Dennis Lewis
  • Mayor’s Wife/Town Folk: Eleni Aldridge
  • Mrs. Merkle: Brenda Garcia
  • Mr. Johnson/Shriner/Doctor: Robert Krause
  • Conrad Birdie: Chris Thorn
  • Hugo Peabody: James Semmelroth-Darnell
  • Randolph MacAfee: Chase Ammon

Crew

  • Director: Frank Pasqualino
  • Poducer: Sherri Haddad
  • Music Director: Peter Darling
  • Stage Manager: Christine Farrell
  • Cheographer: Brandon Kraft
  • Sound Design: Ed Morman
  • Lighting Design: Jeff Auerbach, Jerry Dale
  • Lightboard Operator: Heather Cipu
  • Costume Design and Construction: Jo Rake
  • Costume Dresser: Carol Baetz
  • Props Master: Ceci Albert
  • Props Runner: Eliza Bonner
  • Makeup/Board Liaison: Rick Hayes
  • Box Office Manager: Beth Hall
  • House Manager: Alexis Truitt
  • Program Production: Pamela Blumgart
  • Show Logo/Poster Design: Eleni Aldridge
  • Show Photography: John Paterson

Orchestra

  • Bass: Bob Gerstein
  • Drums: Jim Hoffman
  • Trombone: Mike Dzmbenski
  • Trumpet: Mike Larsen
  • Woodwinds 1: Gweyn Jones
  • Woodwinds 2: Dana Gardner
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This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1963.

started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

3 Responses »

  1. This is Jerry Dale – President of the St. Mark’s Players.
    We have added a matinee this Saturday, May 19th at 3pm.
    Tickets are still available at http://www.stmarksplayers.org.

    You are always welcome to come review our shows. This has been an exceptionally popular show, so I’m gald you were able to attend.

  2. Hi! I play the mayer’s wife, Edna in St. Mark’s production of Bye Bye Birdie. You should note that the cast and crew have to completely undo the seats and stage every Saturday and set up for church. Then, Sunday afternoon, we strike everything for church and set up again for the show. We even have to take apart the platforms on which the audience seats are placed. It’s an incredible job and some of the the cast and crew are GREAT workers and have great energy! They just do it!

  3. Wow, I did not realize that the entire set and seats has to be struck after each show. Ouch! That’s a huge job. Our church used to meet in a school, and I remember what a fun time it was setting everything up every Sunday morning, and tearing it down Sunday night. Amazing.