Theater Info for the Washington DC region

W.T.Woodson High School Bye, Bye, Birdie

By • Nov 29th, 2012 • Category: Cappies

Isn’t he dreamy? Isn’t he gorgeous? In W.T.Woodson High School’s production of Bye, Bye, Birdie with book, music, and lyrics written by Michael Stewart, Charles Strouse, and Lee Adams respectively, Conrad Birdie proved to be a real lady-killer, with a strong and entertaining ensemble that left the audience laughing in their seats and jumping to their feet.

With only time for “One Last Kiss,” rock star Conrad Birdie (Gilbert Louis Braun III) is stuck in Sweet Apple, Ohio amongst throngs of teenage fan girls, few of whom he finds appealing. A publicity plot by Birdie’s Manager, Albert Peterson (Josh Reiter), one name out of the millions of girls in the Conrad Birdie Fan Club was randomly selected to send Birdie off into the military with a highly televised kiss. However, the young lady who has won the prize, Kim MacAfee (Ali Romig), has just agreed to “go steady” with her beau, Hugo (Jacob Nelson). Although Kim is simply dying to kiss Conrad Birdie, jealousy drives Hugo to try to prevent the kiss by any means possible, which leads to some messy results. Accompanied with the love of Albert’s life, Rosie (Paula Lavalle), pushing Albert to drop show business, and Albert’s mother, Mae (Faith Johnson), denying him the right to marry Rose, Sweet Apple quickly evolves from a quaint and calm town in rural Ohio into a battleground between parents, children, and an extremely stressed manager.

As Albert, Reiter created a lovable and relatable character that kept the audience engaged in the show. His strong vocals shone in songs such as “Baby, Talk to Me,” displaying the commitment toward his character and a sense of playfulness that brought smiles to every face in the room. As Rosie, LaValle’s clear voice rang through the auditorium, exhibiting great vocal control as she lilted through songs such as “An English Teacher” and “What Did I Ever See In Him.” However, Kim’s best friend Ursula (Emily Bubeck), the bartender, Maude (Izzy Valdes), and Mrs. Mae Peterson all stole the show, creating energetic and memorable characters that left the audience with broad grins on their faces every time these characters exited the stage.

The ensemble of Bye, Bye, Birdie was divided into adults and teenagers, with all participants in each lending to a clear separation of characterization. The ensemble was committed throughout the show, with numbers such as “The Telephone Hour” and “A Healthy Normal American Boy” displaying a great amount of energy and vocal strength as a whole. The Mr. E Street Band orchestra also displayed a great amount of skill with very few errors that never detracted from the show onstage.

With a clever and versatile set design and thoughtful, entertaining props, Woodson was able to distinguish different settings from each other. The colored lighting effects helped to lend depth and meaning to scenes within the show, with a very impressive spotlight that rarely missed its target.

A round of applause rang through Woodson’s auditorium as the audience celebrated a cute, funny and feel-good show. Although there were a few makeup issues, some sound errors, and stage crew blips, Woodson put on a fun and entertaining production of Bye, Bye, Birdie, lighting up the faces of every person in the room with well-timed jokes and fainting fan girls galore.

by Erika Gallagher of Thomas Edison High School

Photo Gallery

Josh Reiter and Faith Johnson Miryam Mendelson, Lara Taylor, Maddy Branley, Sophia Spaulding, Gilbert Louis Braun II, Emily Bubeck, Alison Romig, Anna O'Hara, and Meghan Howe
Josh Reiter and Faith Johnson
Miryam Mendelson, Lara Taylor, Maddy Branley, Sophia Spaulding, Gilbert Louis Braun II, Emily Bubeck, Alison Romig, Anna O’Hara, and Meghan Howe
Josh Reiter and Paula Lavalle Paula Lavalle
Josh Reiter and Paula Lavalle
Paula Lavalle

Photos by Barbara McCracken

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