BYE BYE BIRDIE Comes to Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Tonight, 10/5

BYE BYE BIRDIE Comes to Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Tonight, 10/5

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres brings its audiences a fresh rendition of a musical classic never before seen on the Main Stage with BYE BYE BIRDIE. This all-American musical will light up the stage with preview performances from tonight, October 5 through 18. Official grand opening festivities take place on October 19. The production is slated to run through March 30, 2013.

Audiences should prepare to “Put on a Happy Face” with this production of BYE BYE BIRDIE. Stated CDT President and Resident Artistic Director Michael Brindisi, “We’re excited to get back to a classic musical on our Main Stage and bringing audiences one that has never been staged here before. It’s hard to believe this show has never been done in our 44-year history.” He continued, “It’s an exuberant, joyous, happy show that will make people forget about the issues of the day and just make them smile. At the same time it has a theme of parents and teens that will still resonate with today’s audiences. I love to direct shows that provide an escape and are enriched with a resounding human message. That’s ‘Birdie.’”

When Elvis-like rock & roll star Conrad Birdie prepares to be inducted into the U.S. Army, the teen nation is united by a national publicity contest where Birdie will bid a typical American teenage girl goodbye with an all-American kiss live on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Kim MacAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio wins the honor and all the telephones in her town are ringing off the hook. When Birdie arrives in Sweet Apple, people of all ages begin to swoon and the entire town is reeling with excitement. A satire done with the fondest affection, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres breathes new life into this Broadway Tony-Award winning musical of the 60s.

A stage musical with book by Michael Stewart, lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse, BYE BYE BIRDIE was originally titled Let’s Go Steady and was a satire on 1958 American society. It was inspired by the real-life phenomenon of pop singer Elvis Presley entering the U.S. Army in 1957. The rock star character’s name, “Conrad Birdie,” is a word-play on the name Conway Twitty. (Twitty is best remembered today for his long career as a country star, but in the late 1950s, he was Presley’s rock ‘n’ roll rival.) Original producer Edward Padula had the idea that Let’s Go Steady would be “a happy teenage musical to make difference.” When real life events surrounding the drafting of Presley made headlines, there was a media circus including Elvis giving a specially selected member of the Women’s Army Corps “one last kiss.” The use of Conway Twitty’s name became a legal issue, so it was eventually changed to Conrad Birdie. And the story was fully born.

The original Broadway production of BYE BYE BIRDIE (opened April 1960) was a Tony Award-winning success receiving credit for Best Musical; Best Performance by a Featured Actor (Dick Van Dyke); Best Direction (Gower Champion) and Best Choreography (Gower Champion). BYE BYE BIRDIE spawned a London production and several major revivals, a sequel, a hugely popular 1963 film (with Dick Van Dyke, Paul Lynde and Ann-Margret), a 1995 television production (with Nathan Lane, Chynna Phillips and Vanessa Williams), a 2008 Kennedy Center abridged production and a 2009 Broadway revival.

BYE BYE BIRDIE is loaded with tunes to thoroughly delight audiences including: “Goin’ Steady,” “Put on a Happy Face,” “The Telephone Hour,” “We Love You, Conrad,” “Honestly Sincere,” “One Last Kiss,” “A Lot of Livin’ To Do” and “Kids.”

Artistic Director Michael Brindisi collaborates with gifted artistic creative team: Tamara Kangas Erickson serves as choreographer and Andrew Cooke as musical director. Designers: Nayna Ramey for scenery; Rich Hamson for costumes; Sue Ellen Berger for lighting; Russ Haynes for sound and Susan Magnuson for hair and makeup. Production Stage Manager is Susan Magnuson.

BYE BYE BIRDIE will be performed eight times weekly with evening performances Tuesdays through Sundays and matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Dinner and show ticket prices are as follows: Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday evenings $70; Friday $81; Saturday evening $81; Wednesday matinee $61; Saturday matinee $65; and Sunday $71. Show-only tickets are available no sooner than ten days prior to the performance. Student Rush tickets may be purchased one hour prior to the performance with valid student ID, and are based on availability. For tickets and information call the theatre box office at (952) 934-1525 or (800) 362-3515. For parties of 12 or more, contact Group Sales at 952-934-1547 or (800) 355-6273 or go online to www.ChanhassenDT.com.

FUN NOTE: Brindisi will cast eight youth/teen roles selected from a large local talent pool of youths and teens with special consideration given to the more than 400 students who attended the 2012 Chan DT Musical Theatre Camps this summer who opted to audition. The eight will divide the performance responsibilities throughout the run of the production.

THE CAST

Albert Peterson - Michael Gruber
Rose Alvarez - Ann Michels
Mrs. Doris MacAfee - Michelle Barber
Mr. Harry MacAfee - Keith Rice
Mrs. Mae Peterson - Seri Johnson
Conrad Birdie - Frank Moran
Hugo Peabody - Tyler Michaels
Kim MacAfee - Jessica Fredrickson
Randolph MacAfee - TBD
Gloria Rasputin - Jodi Carmeli
Ursula Merkle - Therese Walth

Ensemble

Scott Blackburn
Emily Madigan
Kerry Fager
Tinia Moulder
Larissa Gritti
Wes Mouri
Ruthanne Heyward
Tod Peterson
Janet Hayes-Trow
Derek Prestly
Caroline Innerbichler
Brian Skellenger
Mark King
Tony Vierling

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres is the nation’s largest professional dinner theatre company. It is also Minnesota’s only year-round, fully-professional producing theatre company. With scenic and costume shops on site, all design elements are created and executed by CDT’s resident artistic design and technical staff. The artistic program is led by President and Artistic Director, Michael Brindisi. Brindisi works with co-owners Tamara Kangas-Erickson, VP and Choreographer, and Steven L. Peters, to manage CDT. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres is committed to delighting its audiences and creating lifelong memories with a high-quality end-to-end theatre, dining, and service experience.

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