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Prince William Little Theatre Bye Bye Birdie

By • Jul 21st, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Bye Bye Birdie
Prince William Little Theatre: (Info) (Web)
Gregory Family Theatre, Manassas, VA
Through July 28th
2:50 with one intermission
$20/$16 Seniors, Students, Military/$10 Children
Reviewed July 19th, 2013

Though perhaps a touch dated, Bye Bye Birdie is still a fun upbeat musical sure to delight. With music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, and book by Michael Stewart, the story looks at teen heart-throb Conrad Birdie who has been drafted into the army. His writer/producer/agent Albert Peterson has done all he can to keep Conrad swiveling his hips with a microphone instead of a machine gun, but his luck has run out. Assistant (and the true brains of the operation) Rose Alvarez figures out a way to send Conrad into the army with a big hit that will allow Albert and Rose to at last get married (it’s been eight years for Pete’s sake) and move to some small town where Albert can finally do what he has always wanted to do: be an English teacher. So off to Sweet Apple, Ohio to plant that ‘One Last Kiss’ on some swooning teenager and all would be right with the world. Well, maybe not, but much hilarity ensues as everyone involved grows up a bit.

Josh Wilson as Albert Peterson gave a strong performance as the producer/agent for Conrad Birdie. He had a strong connection and nice balance with his secretary Rose played by Holly McDade. McDade was fantastic, from her introductory resignation through to the happily ever after. McDade spent a lot of time and effort keeping Albert calm and keeping his mother away. Her dance numbers were full of energy. Although she tried, Mae Peterson played by Susy Moorstein (who also was the show’s Costumer) would not be denied her ability to butt in. Moorstein was hilarious as Mrs. Mae Peterson. She played the “woe is me” doting mother role expertly. She was so much fun to watch and her antics were quite entertaining.

Teenager Kim MacAfee (Megan Griggs) was chosen to receive the last kiss by Conrad Birdie. She was young, sweet and pretty innocent. The scene at the Ice House was a highlight as she butchered her attempts to appear worldly to Conrad. Conrad Birdie, played by Landon Dufrene, was scripted as worldly-wise, but many of his lines were treated with an innocence which did not receive the audience reaction that was expected. For example, his pleading with Albert to be allowed a night out missed some of the innuendo concerning his stress.

The song “The Telephone Hour” was nicely performed and choreographed, with extremely long telephone cords wrapping up the happy couple of Kim and Hugo. Jarret Baker’s set was focused on a huge rotating platform that gave a great deal of flexibility, representing Kim’s bedroom, Albert’s office, the Ed Sullivan studio, and other locations. All the scene changes were carried out fairly smoothly. Stacy King’s lighting design had a few dark spots on the sides of the playing area. Stan Harris’ sounds effects were effective, although sometimes came in a bit late or too soon. The huge cast of 37 fit nicely on the large stage at the Gregory Family Theatre in Manassas, Virginia.

One problem with Bye Bye Birdie is the script itself. There are many references in the script that audiences today just won’t understand. A few include “Getting pinned,” “terramycin,” “Shangri-La, Tibet” and “Mr. Luce, of Life magazine.” That said, the action performed under the overture featured several flashbacks to the 1950s: the hula hoop, jump rope, and cowboys.

Overall Bye Bye Birdie is a fun show with lots of spirit.

Photo Gallery

Danny Waldman (Hugo Peabody) and Megan Griggs (Kim Macafee) Joshua Wilson (Albert Peterson) and Holly McDade (Rosie Alvarez)
Danny Waldman (Hugo Peabody) and Megan Griggs (Kim Macafee)
Joshua Wilson (Albert Peterson) and Holly McDade (Rosie Alvarez)
Telephone Teens: Laura Kline; with Clare Baker (Ursula Merkle) and Alyssa Ryberg in rear Susy Moorstein (Mae Peterson) and Joshua Wilson (Albert Peterson)
Telephone Teens: Laura Kline; with Clare Baker (Ursula Merkle) and Alyssa Ryberg in rear
Susy Moorstein (Mae Peterson) and Joshua Wilson (Albert Peterson)
Alyssa Ryberg, Laura Kline, Megan Griggs (Kim Macafee), and Clare Baker (Ursula Merkle) Clare Baker (Ursula Merkle), Landon Dufrene (Conrad Birdie), Tina Mullins, Don Wilson Back, left to right - Holly McDade (Rosie Alvarez) and Joshua Wilson (Albert Peterson)
Alyssa Ryberg, Laura Kline, Megan Griggs (Kim Macafee), and Clare Baker (Ursula Merkle)
Clare Baker (Ursula Merkle), Landon Dufrene (Conrad Birdie), Tina Mullins, Don Wilson Back, left to right – Holly McDade (Rosie Alvarez) and Joshua Wilson (Albert Peterson)
Teen girls go crazy over Conrad Birdie Owen Orwig (Randolph Macafee), Dave Ermlick ( Mr. Macafee), Danica Shook (Mrs. Macafee), and Megan Griggs (Kim Macafee)
Teen girls go crazy over Conrad Birdie
Owen Orwig (Randolph Macafee), Dave Ermlick ( Mr. Macafee), Danica Shook (Mrs. Macafee), and Megan Griggs (Kim Macafee)

Photos by David Harback

Cast

  • Teen Ensemble: Amber Faye Armstrong
  • Mrs. Merkle, Adult Ensemble: Candi Baker
  • Ursula Merkle: Clare Baker
  • Young Girl: Victoria Baker
  • Adult Ensemble: Sarah Barlow
  • Mr. Johnson, Stage Manager, Shriner: Dan Bellotte
  • Adult Ensemble, Dance Captain, Wigs: Katy Churma
  • Adult Ensemble: Marissa Dolcich
  • Conrad Birdie: Landon Dufrene
  • Teen Ensemble: Amber Elston
  • Harry MacAfee: Dave Ermlick
  • Reporter, Shriner, Adult Ensemble: Jonathan Faircolth
  • Audio Tech, Maude, Adult Ensemble: Zach Fletcher
  • Kim MacAfee: Megan Griggs
  • Teen Ensemble: Carleigh Hopkins
  • Teen Ensemble: Laura Kline
  • Adult Ensemble: Jennifer LePaige
  • Shriner, Teen Ensemble: Alden Lester
  • Rose Alvarez: Holly McDade
  • Mae Peterson: Susy Moorstein
  • Mayor’s Wife, Adult Ensemble: Tina Mullins
  • Teen Ensemble: Declan Murphy
  • Teen Ensemble: Gwenyth Murphy
  • Randolph MacAfee: Owen Orwig
  • Harvey Johnson, Teen Ensemble: Tyler Parowski
  • Adult Ensemble: Stephanie Powlen
  • Reporter, Cameraman, Shriner, Police officer: Paul Rubenstein
  • Teen Ensemble: Alyssa Ryberg
  • Teen Ensemble: Sarah Jane Scott
  • Doris MacAfee: Danica Shook
  • Little Girl: Taylor Shook
  • Gloria Rasputin, Adult Ensemble: Caroline Simpson
  • Voice of Ed Sullivan: Jay Tilley
  • Shriner, Teen Ensemble: Kyle Turnage
  • Adult Ensemble: Cana Wade
  • Hugo Peabody: Danny Wa;dman
  • Mayor, Adult Ensemble: Don Wilson
  • Albert Peterson: Josh Wilson

Production/Creative

  • Producer: Melissa Jo York-Tilley
  • Director: Don Peterson
  • Choreographer: Danica Shook
  • Assistant Choreographer: Katy Chmura
  • Vocal Director: Beth Atkins
  • Music Director: Laura Boyles
  • Stage Manager: Mary Ann Hall
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Rebecca Jackson
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Tigan Harrison
  • Set Designer: Jarret Baker
  • Lighting Designer: Stacy King
  • Costume Designer: Susy Moorstein
  • Sound Effects Designer: Stan Harris
  • Sound Effects Coordinator: Jon Roberts
  • Properties/Set Dressing: Don Peterson
  • Production Photographer: Leland Shook
  • Fight Choreographer: Carl Brandt Long
  • Master Electrician: Will McLeod
  • Sound Operator: Veronica Thomas
  • Sound Operator: Amanda Carter
  • Sound Operator: Laura Baughman
  • Light Board Operator: Michael D. O’Connor
  • Light Board Operator: Michael Kwan
  • Technical Assistant: Anna Fernandez
  • Logo Designer: Jeff Maurer
  • Technical Props: Bob Shon
  • Set Construction and Painting: Jarret Baker, Barbara Baker, Bob Baker, Jason Baker
  • Properties: Candi Baker, Sarah Barlow, Caroline Kline, Laura Griggs
  • Makeup Assistance: Theresa Lester, Karen Parowski
  • Hair and Makeup: Cast
  • Wigs: Katy Chmura

Orchestra

  • Piano: Meredyth Stirling
  • Guitar: William Schillinger
  • Percussion: Marie Juliano
  • Bass: Theresa Arnold

Disclaimer: Prince William Little Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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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.

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