PHOTOS: MS Musical Bye Bye Birdie Takes Audiences to 1950s America

By Michele Silverman
 
The Bye Bye Birdie cast of 41 Middle School had four performances in the Hurlbut Theater last week, retelling the classic story inspired by the real-life events of Elvis Presley.
 
In Bye Bye Birdie, the much-adored rock-and-roll idol, Conrad Birdie (Jack Klausner) was drafted into the United States Army. His songwriter and agent, Albert Peterson (Nick Fox) and Albert’s secretary and some-time girlfriend, Rosie Alvarez (Annalise Aitken) hatched a plan for a farewell performance to take place on The Ed Sullivan Show. To cap off the TV performance, Birdie tried to give ‘one last kiss’ to Kim MacAfee (Callie Maciariello). Kim’s steady boyfriend, Hugo Peabody (Brayden Brisbois) was jealous. While Kim’s father, Mr. MacAfee (Kevin Hasani) tried to be in control of his family (Claire Martin, Charles Martin) and the situation.
 
Albert’s mom, Mae Peterson (Caden Choi) provided comic relief as she continually attempted to control her grown son. The Mayor of Sweet Apple (Mac Ullem) welcomed Conrad to town and even his wife (Letti Bentley) fell under Conrad’s spell. The fan club, led in screaming by Ursula (Saba Farjami) followed Conrad wherever he went in the town. Other Sweet Apple teens included Alice (Audrey Kim), Deborah Sue (Addy Oh), Helen (Heidi Beshk), Nancy (Marina Romo-Elias), Margie (Lilah Bibas), Penelope (Mallory Gracia), Suzie (Serena Rong), Freddie (Griffin Illenberger), Karl (Larry Li), and Harvey Johnson (Matthew Nordstrom). The show also included cast members playing Birdie Teens, 50s parents, reporters and more.
 
According to director Dan Pacheco, “Bye Bye Birdie transports us to a different time, when ‘going steady’ was the highest honor for a teen, and Ed Sullivan (Timothy Lindenfelser) was the ultimate television program.”
 
The 80-minute performance included five choreographed numbers and familiar songs such as “Put on a Happy Face”. Behind the scenes, there were 20 Middle School students in the technical crew led by Gavin Shams, grade 8.
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