The North Hunterdon High School Theater Organization will perform the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 2 pm in the school theater. The show is produced by special arrangement with Tams Witmark.
Written by Michael Stewart, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams, “Bye Bye Birdie” brings back the energy and excitement of the 1950s, when rock and roll, television, and the American teenager were entered the scene. “Bye Bye Birdie” received four Tony Awards in 1961, including Best Musical.
The show features rock and roll idol Conrad Birdie (played by newly-drafted junior Alex Paige), much to the dismay of his teenage fans, including Sweet Apple, president of the Ohio fan club Kim. MacAfee (senior Taylor Ussia) and her friend, Ursula Merkle (senior Sera Bunca). Conrad’s agent, Albert Peterson (senior Ryan Apgar), is distraught, until his secretary, Rosie Alvarez (senior Lexie Miller), comes up with a plan for a fabulous publicity stunt: Conrad will set a new successful record, titled “One Last Kiss,” which he will perform live on The Ed Sullivan Show. During the song, Conrad will offer his last kiss before entering the service, to Kim, who was chosen at random from among his many fan clubs in across the country. Rosie, who is Albert’s romantic interest as well as his secretary, sings “An English Teacher”, expressing her hope that the hit record will end Albert’s entertainment career and allow him to to settle in a more relaxed life, by teaching English, and consequently to propose it.
To complicate matters, Albert’s mother, Mae Peterson (senior Emily Miljkovic), who can’t seem to loosen the strings of the apron, and hinders Rosie and Albert’s relationship in various passive aggressive ways, one of which is the song ” A Mother Doesn’t Matter Anymore. ”Mae brings in Gloria Rasputin (sophomore Maggie Dean) hopeful for tap dancing to distract Albert from Rosie.
Teenage Kim has her own drama when her boyfriend Hugo (junior Evan Tomljanovich) objects to Kim’s plans to receive Conrad Birdie’s kiss on the Ed Sullivan Show. Kim assures Hugo of his devotion in the ballad “One Boy”, which Rosie takes up with thoughts of Albert. Kim’s troubles escalate when her father, Harry MacAfee (junior Michael Molzen), ignores her desire to be recognized as an adult, which she expresses in the melodic “How Lovely to Be a Woman”.
The sheet music includes familiar songs like “Lot of Livin ‘”, “Rosie” and “Put on a Happy Face”, performed by Ryan Apgar and tap dancers Hanorah Hyland, Jessica Holliday, Andrea Baumgarten and Morgan Treece. The phenomenon of the American teenager is illustrated in two contrasting pieces, “The Telephone Hour” and “Kids”.
The other characters are Mrs. Doris MacAfee (Sarah Berg), brother of Kim Randolph (Philip Mathew), teens Harvey Johnson (Aidan Lavigne), Helen (Alicia Chapman), Margie (Grace Corcoran), Penelope Ann (Angelina Dyson), Nancy (Luca Vaarkamp), Alice (Amelia Milza), Suzie (Grace Gartlgruber) and Deborah Sue (Annie Meyer), parents Ms. Merkle (Emily Young), Mr. Johnson (Joe McDevitt), Charles F. Maude (Quinn Cowell) and Mayor (David Reese). Set includes Sabrina Bunca, Owen Butler, Anthony Carosi, Elizabeth Caso, Daniel Decker, Bobby Fasciano, Nathan Gilvey, Kerry Glacken, Anneliese Johnson, Makaela Kessie, Rhea Kochhar, Claire Kuo, Alek Lipinski, Shayne Piro, Raymond Setaro, Alyssa Swope, Emma Twohy, Ryan Walsh.
The North Hunterdon Theater Organization’s “Bye Bye Birdie” is directed by English teacher Mary Meo. Music teacher Vincent Angeline conducts the orchestra and the vocal directors are Professors Charles Hopta and Katie Cudworth. Other faculty members include choreographer Kerrie Decker, set builder Aaron Willsey, stage team director Kevin Byrne, technical director Karen Ellis, costume designer Regina Cavo, makeup artist Mary Piazza, poster and auditorium manager Jacqueline Rhoads, and theater coordinators Katie Cudworth and Regina Cavo.
Information on ordering tickets, at $ 15 for general admission and $ 10 for seniors and students, can be obtained by emailing NHTOtickets@gmail.com. Tickets will also be available at the door prior to the performances.
Submitted by the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional School District