BWW Review: BYE BYE BIRDIE at BroadHollow Theatre Company
The kids in Sweet Apple, Ohio are hooting and hollering over the arrival of Conrad Birdie and so is the audience over at the Broadhollow Theatre Company in Elmont. Bye Bye Birdie, the Broadway smash musical from 1960, is back and better than ever! Albert, Rosie, Hugo and Kim are also here to bring us back to a much simpler time when kids were kids and music sounded like music.
It's the fifties and songwriter Albert Peterson, humbly played by the excellent Joe Anthony, is juggling his passionless career, longtime secretary/girlfriend, and hocking babying mother. Secretary Rosie, brilliantly played by a marvelous Alexis Monetti, comes up with a scheme to finally marry Albert, get him out of show business, into teaching English, and away from his mama. Meanwhile, rock and roller Conrad Birdie (the Elvis Presley then, the Justin Bieber now) is off to the army and plans to kiss a teenage fan goodbye while singing Albert's final song on the Ed Sullivan Show. Mischief and mayhem ensue underscored by hip and happenin' rock and roll. Teenage romance, growing pains, rockstar crushes, and a happily ever after always makes Bye Bye Birdie a crowdpleaser.
The fabulous cast includes the wonderful Steve Brustien and Liz Carver as the overprotective parents Mr. and Mrs. MacAfee, the sweet Caitlin Nofi as their daughter Kim, the great Charles Jacker as teenage sensation Conrad Birdie, and a swell Hans Hendrickson as the jealous Hugo Peabody. The multitalented and reliable Mr. Hendrickson is always perfect in every production we've seen him in.
Linda Hanson practically steals the show with her over the top yenta schtick and powerhouse performance as Albert's mother Mae. All the nagging, demanding, wining, kvetching, and moaning are all worth it whenever Ms. Hanson is on stage and lets loose at anyone in her way. She'd certainly make a great Mama Rose in Gypsy someday!
Bye Bye Birdie is a regional theater favorite. In every incarnation, there's always something special about putting on a feel good musical from yesteryear. Broadhollow's fine production of Bye Bye Birdie not only inspires us to put on a happy face but also reminds us that we've got a lot of livin' to do!
Bye Bye Birdie is presented by the BroadHollow Theatre Company in Elmont, Long Island. Tickets on sale through September 24th. For more information, please visit: www.broadhollow.org or call 516-775-4420
A Musical Comedy with book by Michael Stewart, Music by Charles Strous, Lyrics by Lee Adams, Originally Produced by Edward Padula, Directed and Choreographed by Tommie Gibbons, Technical Director Robert Butterley, Stage Manager Allegra Mattel, Lighting Design Hemraj Budhram, Costume Design Joseph Kassner, Musical Director AriAnn Miller Forella and Executive Artistic Director Robert O'Neill.
Starring Joe Anthony as Albert Peterson, Nick Aspris as Randolph MacAfee, Steve Brustein as Harry MacAfee, Kayla Cappe as Sad Girl/Ensemble, Liz Carver as Mrs. MacAfee, Trevor Cox as Randolph MacAfee, Isabela Gaskill as Ursula Merckle/Ensemble, Owen Gaskill as Harvey Johnson/Ensemble, Ashley Graf as Ensemble, Linda Hanson as Mae Peterson, Hans Hendrickson as Hugo Peabody, Charles Jacker as Conrad Birdie, Stephen Lefayt as Mayor/Maude/Stage Manager, Denise Merchant as Mrs. Merckle/Reporter, Alexis Monetti as Rose Alvarez, Caitlin Nofi as Kim MacAfee, Becky Nuehedel as Mayors Wife, Morgan Nuehedel as Gloria Rasputin/Ensemble, Bill Quaresimo as Mr. Johnson/Cop/Cameraman, Gerard Quaresimo as Ensemble, Lauren Rodriguez as Ensemble, Andrew Timmins as Ensemble.