Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC

Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert! BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC

The production runs Aug 6th through Aug 20th

Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC CMPAC is currently celebrating its 35th anniversary. On August 6, 2022, CMPAC opened its 49th season with Bye Bye Birdie. While the production does at times get you to put on a happy face, unfortunately those gray skies do not fully clear up.

Parodying the mania that ensued when Elvis Presley was drafted into the army, Bye Bye Birdie tells the story of recently drafted rock icon Conrad Birdie who travels to a small Ohio town to provide "one last kiss" to his biggest fan, Kim McAfee, before going off to war. Along for the ride are Conrad's manager/songwriter Albert Peterson, Albert's secretary and girlfriend Rose Alvarez and Albert's meddling mother Mae Peterson.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of microphone/sound issues that occurred at the performance I saw. There were quite a few missed mic cues; you saw cast members saying their lines, couldn't hear them and then the mic would come on halfway through their line. I couldn't hear Conrad Birdie at all the entire night; I'm not sure if his microphone was broken or maybe he forgot to put one on. All of Birdie's musical numbers were very muffled and garbled. There was also quite a bit of mic popping. Other than the sound issues, the production staff really does a phenomenal job taking the audience back to the 1950s. Upon entering the theater, you see a giant 50's retro television suspended above the stage which projects the show's title card. The TV also presents a clip montage, a la 1950's news reel footage, of Conrad Birdie thrusting his hips with young girls screaming. It perfectly sets the scene and tone of the production. John Mazzarella created a fantastic set that easily transported you to 1950's middle America. The McAfee home in particular was very authentic to the 1950's; I felt like Tobey Maguire getting sucked into his favorite 1950's TV show in Pleasantville. The lighting design by Christopher Creevy was also brilliant. With "The Telephone Hour", Mazzarella and Creevy had the opportunity to really showcase their talents. Each teenager in Sweet Apple, Ohio had their own individual box representing their room. Each box was brightly lit showcasing the various designs of the 1950s. During the song, each box would alternately light up; the light switches kept up with the song's tempo. I wish some of the cast members could keep tempo like the lights.

Briana Ude portrayed Rose Alvarez. She did a great job acting the part, but Ude struggled with keeping up with the tempo of the orchestra during many of her solo numbers (i.e. "An English Teacher', "What did I Ever See in Him?"). She did end her performance on a high note with two back-to-back showstoppers: "Spanish Rose" and "Rosie". Taking on the role of Albert Peterson was Kevin Burns. Burns is the true star of this production. He really makes the role his own and is perfect. The best musical numbers all featured Kevin Burns: "Put on a Happy Face", "Baby, Talk to Me", and "Rosie". Ude and Burns had an undeniable chemistry together and brought out the best in each other.

Emily Rose DeMartino was in full voice and truly captured the essence of Ann-Margret, especially her dancing. She was perfectly cast as Kim McAfee. I wish I could say the same for Conrad Birdie. At my performance, I saw the understudy for Birdie, Thomas Higgins. Higgins was miscast and just did not look the part. Birdie is supposed to look like Elvis; the Birdie in this production looked like a member of One Direction. It was great to see Marc Strauss grace the CMPAC stage once again. I recently saw him portray Horace Vandergelder in CMPAC's production of Hello Dolly. In this production, he takes on the role of Harry McAfee and once again knocks it out of the park. He truly makes the role his own and is wonderfully supported by his talented acting family Joan Meichner (Mrs. McAfee), Aidan Robilotta (Randolph McAfee) and DeMartino (Kim McAfee). There rendition of "Hymn for a Sunday Evening" was a stand-out performance from Act 1. Helene Tiger was hilarious as the meddlesome Mae Peterson; her performance reminded me of Doris Roberts in Everybody Loves Raymond. I also must give a shout out to Michael Newman who did a spot-on impersonation of Ed Sullivan.

CMPAC always manages to put on outstanding productions. While my performance did have a few blips, there is no doubt in my mind that as this production goes on it will get better and better. Bye Bye Birdie will play CMPAC's Noel S. Ruiz Theater through Aug 20.

You can purchase ticket here:

https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2191224®id=181&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fcmpac.com%2Fevent%2Fbyebyebirdie%2F?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1

CMPAC's 49th Season will continue with: Cabaret (Sept 17-Oct 1), Matilda the Musical (Oct 15-Nov 5), and The Wizard of Oz (Nov 19-Dec 18). You can purchase tickets for these productions here:

https://cmpac.com/mainstage/

Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC
Briana Ude; Photo Credit: CMPAC
Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC
"The Telephone Hour" Ensemble; Photo Credit: CMPAC
Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC
"The Telephone Hour" Ensemble; Photo Credit: CMPAC
Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC
Emily Rose DeMartino; Photo Credit: CMPAC
Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC
Thomas Anderson; Photo Credit: CMPAC
Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC
Briana Ude & Kevin Burns; Photo Credit: CMPAC



From This Author - Nicholas Pontolillo


Review: Freda Payne and her 'Band' of Gold Marvel in ELLA: FIRST LADY OF SONG at The Madison Theatre At Molloy CollegeReview: Freda Payne and her 'Band' of Gold Marvel in ELLA: FIRST LADY OF SONG at The Madison Theatre At Molloy College
August 28, 2022

What did our critic think of ELLA: FIRST LADY OF SONG at The Madison Theatre At Molloy College?

Review: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPACReview: Bye Bye Birdie...Hello Albert! BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC
August 14, 2022

What did our critic think of BYE BYE BIRDIE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theater At CMPAC?

Review: Theatre Three's EVERY BRILLIANT THING is sheer brilliance!Review: Theatre Three's EVERY BRILLIANT THING is sheer brilliance!
July 24, 2022

Theatre Three’s Every Brilliant Thing is sheer brilliance

BWW Review: PLAZA THEATRICALS production of The Long Island Premiere Of THE COLOR PURPLE Is Beautiful and HereBWW Review: PLAZA THEATRICALS production of The Long Island Premiere Of THE COLOR PURPLE Is Beautiful and Here
May 31, 2022

Alice Walker wrote in The Color Purple, 'I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.' In other words, you have to appreciate the beautiful, good things of life no matter how bad life may be. Readers, I'm telling you if you don't make it over to Elmont and see the Long Island premiere of The Color Purple, you will be pissed you missed this truly beautiful production.

BWW Review/Photos: 'Put on Your Sunday Clothes' & Head on Down to HELLO DOLLY at CMPAC In The Noel S. Ruiz TheatreBWW Review/Photos: 'Put on Your Sunday Clothes' & Head on Down to HELLO DOLLY at CMPAC In The Noel S. Ruiz Theatre
May 12, 2022

Closing out its 48th season, CMPAC does manage to put on a dazzling production of Hello Dolly, albeit a few hiccups, which I will attribute to opening night jitters.