re: Differences between Bye Bye Birdie Musical and Movie

broadwayfan24
Featured Actor
joined:7/7/04
We might be doing Bye Bye Birdie next year and I was watching the movie. My parents told me that the movie is different from the play so now I don't know what was in the play or whats not. I might go see it at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, but I know a lot of people who work there and say its not that good. Can anyone try to help me by telling me some differences. All I know is that not all the songs are used in the movie.
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
Well to start with, Kim is supposed to be a wholesome, virginal 16 year old - NOT the sex kitten played by Ann-Margaret. Likewise, her boyfriend Hugo is written is a nerd, and was played in the movie by handsome teen idol Bobby Rydell.

The whole stupid business with the chemical that speeds things up is not in the play.

Of course, Ed Sullivan is just a voice-over - it's easy to find someone who can do a decent imitation of his voice.

Rose is of Hispanic descent (which Albert's mother finds objectionable), and has a big song ("Spanish Rose")about it.
Candleshoe2
Broadway Star
joined:8/16/04
You might want to rent the not-so-popular TV Version of "Bye Bye Birdie" that aired in the 1990s. It isn't the greatest movie but it at least sticks to the plot of the musical than the older movie.
broadwayfan24
Featured Actor
joined:7/7/04
I tryed to find the tv version but everytime I go to Blockbuster they never have it. My parents are thinking of buying it if they have it at Amazon.com. My mom was commenting on how Ann-Margaret was too sexy for that part. I agree. I didn't know Hugo was supposed to be a nerd mostly b/c he looks cute in the movie.
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
It's been a long time since I saw the movie, but I remember when I directed it, the kids who'd seen the movie kept complaining the show was very different. All I remember was that everyone seemed to remember Ann-Margaret singing "Bye Bye Birdie" which never happens in the stage show.

My advice (as someone who's directed high school musicals) is STOP doing so much detective work! It seems like young actors are more likely than most to tend to copy the performance they have seen and that won't help you in auditions. Maybe learn the songs and work on the ones that will be used for auditions but showing up doing an Ann-Margaret won't get you the part.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
Marquise
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/04
Her name is ANN-MARGRET

drop that confounded second "A"

Thank You!


Updated On: 4/10/05 at 04:43 PM
munkustrap178
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/04
Yes, watch the TV movie with Vanessa Williams - it's not 100% faithful, but it's leagues better than the original with RAndolph's science experiments involving his turtle.
"If you are going to do something, do it well. And leave something witchy." -Charlie Manson
wildcat
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/04
PUT ON A HAPPY FACE is originally sung and danced by Albert with two sad teenagers. Rosie is not in the number.
ONE BOY in the show is a trio for Kim and two teenagers. Hugo does not sing.
Hugo does not sing in LOT OF LIVIN' TO DO.

Songs from the show not in the film are:
AN ENGLISH TEACHER
NORMAL AMERICAN BOY
HOW TO KILL A MAN (Ballet)
WHAT DID I EVER SEE IN HIM?
BABY, TALK TO ME
SPANISH ROSE

The SHRINER'S BALLET was originally cut from most prints.
MasterLcZ
Broadway Legend
joined:5/12/03
I'm as big a gay man as they come (I lypsyched to A-M from the soundtrack, particularly her bit in "Gotta A Lot Of Leev Eeen To Do"...still do, in fact) but I can't get my eyes of her tits in her opening bit, particularly when she jiggles them and presses her arms together.

And the Speeded-Up Russian ballet always makes me laugh till I ache. It's SO STUPID but SO FUNNY!
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
Updated On: 4/10/05 at 06:53 PM
Marquise
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/04
nothing beats Ann-Margret in a bright yellow dress and her flaming red hair blowing in the wind against a sky blue background shaking it in the opening and ending of "Bye Bye Birdie"! Broadway version be damned but that was a definite improvement!!!
Updated On: 4/10/05 at 07:05 PM
bill mobley
Understudy
joined:2/28/05
As a black dude who went to high school with whites in the early 70's, there were white girls who acted like the Ann Margaret character (with the exception of the sexy beginning and ending "Bye Bye Birdie" number). They were usually cheerleader types. Especially in the scene where she's on the phone talking about getting pinned by Hugo, she reminded me so much of those girls who got excited about stuff like that. But, admitedly by 1973 most of these type white girls had turned into hippies, and dope addicts (not all of them of course). Also, people say Janet Leigh was not that good. But she was fine, and did a good job, totally different from her turn in Psycho.
wildcat
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/04
I think people were disappointed that Janet Leigh got the role over a consummate singer/dancer like Chita Rivera. As with Roz Russell in GYPSY, I think time gives us more perspective on the performance.
robbiej
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Although is has practically NOTHING to do with the marvelous stage show it's based upon, the film of BYE, BYE BIRDIE is an absolute delight.

A couple of years ago, they showed BBB in Bryant Park. It was a GORGEOUS summer night, but my friend, with whom I had plans, didn't want to see it. So we took a walk around lower Manhattan and had a terrific time. We ended our night in Union Square and I decided, since it was still relatively early, to walk up to Bryant Park and see the end of the movie...if only for the magnificent Ann-Margret in the sassy yellow dress and perky bosoms. I got there just in time to see the cracked out ROSE ADAGIO, which is absurdly hilarious. The movie ended giddily with 'Rosie' and my excitement for that final number grew. And then, it happened. The sound cut out. Ann-Margret toyed, flirted and shimmied in complete silence. And no one moved. It was absolutely hilarious to see just how physically inappropriate she was as a young teenage girl...even when she WAS a young teenage girl!

Glorious film.
"I'm so looking forward to a time when all the Reagan Democrats are dead."
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
It's a funny thing. The film of Bye Bye Birdie was way off from the original book and cut out much of its score, but was wildly energetic and fun. The TV movie was more faithful to the book and score, but the direction is incredibly bland and the choreography ranges from weak to nonexistent. I wish there was a film version that captured the strengths of both previous versions. The original film version of "Sincere" is utter perfection and one of the most energetic ensemble performances of a film musical ever captured. That scene alone is worth the price of the DVD. And watching Ann-Margret sing Bye Bye Birdie is both hypnotic and bizarre. Especially during the opening, when you wonder what in the world is her motivation for the way she performs that song. She seems to be simultaneously tormented, in heat, and at times, happily psychotic inside an extremely windy oblivion. If it's your first time watching the film, you might be quite suspicious as to what may follow.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
robbiej
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
THAT, Matt, is probably the best description imaginable of Ann-Margret's spectacular performance.
"I'm so looking forward to a time when all the Reagan Democrats are dead."
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
The entire family gets sucked in to the windy oblivion during Hymn for a Sunday Evening as well. It's really strange.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
Thetruth
Broadway Star
joined:8/25/03
I just saw a high school production of this play and it was horrible. I wont get into details, but they were riffing all over the place. Now, I enjoy my riffs, but the kids really couldn't sing!

And as far as Ann goes...Them lil' hot pants she wears are nice.
lensman55
Featured Actor
joined:7/15/03
I got another question. I did the father in BBB W A Y back in high school. The production was so tacky, the kitchen set consisted of a billboard with "KITCHEN" written on it and a couple of frying pans painted on!

I remember my direction bringing the soundtrack to the original production and there was Paul Lynde singing "Kids!" (I hadn't even known he originated the part.) In the song he has a couple of spoken asides; ("I didn't know what puberty was 'till I was almost past it!") one of them was; "I don't know how we beat the Russians!" - Now, I don't remember that being my line in our version. But I can't remember what my line was! (We are talking over 30 years ago!) Is that line in your script for the song "Kids!"? If not, what are the asides? I think he either had two or four in the song.


Thanks!
"Now and then life hits you on the back of the head with a sock full of wet porridge. How you handle that is up to you." - Tim Rice
frontrowcentre2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/05
Best (and simplest) research, broadwayfan24, is to get a copy of the original cast recording. It is out in the Sony/Columbia Broadway Masterworks series (SK 89254) - The booklet has excellent notes on the history of the production and detailed synopsis. Best of all it has an $11.98 list price and can probably be found online for less.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Riffing has no place in Bye Bye Birdie, good singers or not. What on earth made them think there should be riffing in a 60s whitebread musical theatre/rock 'n' roll score?

Morons.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
ConvinceMe2
Broadway Legend
joined:4/7/05
The Ann-Margret version of BBB is about a billion times better than the tv version, or the Broadway show, for that matter. It may have silly science experiments, but it also has an energetic cast (the tv version comes off like they all have iron poor blood and, frankly, Chynna Phillips looks older than Ann-Margret), and it also has Onna White's unmatched choreography! Every number is a joy to behold. I love the film; but agree that it isn't good source material for the show version.
ConvinceMe2 is dead. Long live BrendanStryker!
lensman55
Featured Actor
joined:7/15/03
/quote/
Riffing has no place in Bye Bye Birdie, good singers or not. What on earth made them think there should be riffing in a 60s whitebread musical theatre/rock 'n' roll score?
/end quote/

I'm just not musical enough to get the term, what is "riffing?"

I remember when we did the musical in high school, the director (spelled it right this time!) got annoyed at Harry's "kids" for ad libbing in certain scenes. (To be specific, when Harry opens the paper that's been all cut up, the daughter said to the son; "You're gonna get screwed!")
"Now and then life hits you on the back of the head with a sock full of wet porridge. How you handle that is up to you." - Tim Rice
lensman55
Featured Actor
joined:7/15/03
When we were first doing Birdie, the director brought in the original cast album. (That's how I discovered Paul Lynde did the father). The cast album still has the "I don't know how we beat the Russians" line. My question is, what are the asides now? Have they changed? I don't remember saying the "Russians" line but I can't remember what my lines were.
"Now and then life hits you on the back of the head with a sock full of wet porridge. How you handle that is up to you." - Tim Rice
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
Bumping this thread because I got the dvd for Christmas and I think this is my favorite Mister Matt post ever-

Especially during the opening, when you wonder what in the world is her motivation for the way she performs that song. She seems to be simultaneously tormented, in heat, and at times, happily psychotic inside an extremely windy oblivion. If it's your first time watching the film, you might be quite suspicious as to what may follow.
defyingravity11
Broadway Legend
joined:2/26/06
I never liked the original movie. I always refer to it as "selections from act one of Bye Bye Birdie." I really enjoyed the made for tv movie which is much closer to the stage show. I believe that the current license for the show includes some of the new movie material (except for "Giant Step").
"In theater, the process of it is the experience. Everyone goes through the process, and everyone has the experience together. It doesn't last - only in people's memories and in their hearts. That's the beauty and sadness of it. But that's life - beauty and the sadness. And that is why theater is life." - Sherie Rene Scott
NYC4Life
Broadway Star
joined:1/23/06
Ann-Margret was heaven in the movie! I fell in love with her watching it.

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