BWW Review: BYE BYE BIRDIE at Meridian High School
BYE BYE BIRDIE hit the musical stage in the early 1960's. The story line was inspired by the popularity of Elvis Presley and his draft notice. BIRDIE is full of great tunes that most will recognize. "How lovely to be a woman", "Kids", "The Telephone Hour" and "Put on a Happy Face", made famous by Dick Van Dyke in the 1963 film adaptation.
This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Meridian High School's production of BYE BYE BIRDIE, directed by their drama teacher, Annie McKinney. As soon as you walk into the theater, you are greeted with the music of the era. I love this as it puts you in the mood for what you are about to see. The costumes and set followed suit. The only downfall I saw here was Conrad Birdie's first costume, which felt a little too contemporary against the poodle-like skirts and bright colors of the rest of the cast. The highlight was the Ed Sullivan era set that doubled as fun levels for the MacAfee home and other places around Sweet Apple, Ohio.
The show opens with agent and songwriter Albert Peterson (Kaleb Howell) and his secretary Rosie Alvarez (April Guillen) discussing Conrad Birdie being drafted, and their relationship that is going sour. Rosie comes up with a great plan to boost publicity before he leaves and picks a member of the Birdie fanclub to be Conrad's last kiss before going off to war. The winner, Kim McAfee (Ashlynn Rich) just got pinned by her boyfriend and now gets to be kissed by Conrad Birdie (Michael Larson). This turns the town upside down!
There is no shortage of great one liners in BIRDIE and therefore no shortage of funny characters. A few of my favorite from Meridian's production are Ursala Merkle (Lexie Iske), Harry MacAffee (Matt Wagner, who also had a great voice), and the unforgettable Mae Peterson (hilariously portrayed by Ella Kramer).
The cast of Meridian High's BIRDIE is huge! The singing and dancing was great fun. The cast seemed to be having a great time and have worked really hard. They have double cast the lead roles, so I may have to return next week to see the other actors as well. Be sure to go see it, but know that you will leave smiling and singing, "We love you Conrad, oh yes we do...."
You can see this fun blast from this weekend at Meridian High School, March 16th, 17th, and 18th at 7pm.