Civic Light Opera Company Presents New Version 'Bye Bye Birdie' Directed by Mojica

The Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities presents the rollicking and stylized 1950's era musical "Bye Bye Birdie," directed and choreographed by Dan Mojica of Broadway's "Beauty & The Beast," previewing September 17 - 19 and opening September 20, 8 p.m. at the 1400-seat Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach.

Loosely based on the life of Elvis Presley, this is one of the most captivating musical shows of our time, taking audiences on a time machine to gentler times of beehive hairdo's, swivel hips and rock-and-roll summers. It is an affectionate satire of a singer about to be inducted into the army. Some of the more memorable songs include "An English Teacher," "What Did I Ever See in Him?" "Put on a Happy Face," "One Boy," "A Lot of Livin' to Do," "Kids," "Rosie" and "Spanish Rose." Book is by Michael Stewart, music is by Charles Strouse, and lyrics are by Lee Adams. Edward Padula originally produced the play.

"Bye Bye Birdie" stars John Bisom as Albert Peterson, James Royce Edwards as Conrad Birdie, Lana Hartwell as Mae Peterson, Heather Lee as Mrs. MacAfee, John Martin as Mr. MacAfee, Natalie Nucci as Rose Alvarez, Heather Robert Pieranunzi as Hugo Peabody, and Jill Townsend as Kim MacAfee. The cast also includes Jennifer Brasuell, Travis Davidson, Jordan Delp, Katie Deshan, Jasmine Ejan, Rachel Genevieve, Cecily Gish, Merissa Haddad, Brandon Heitkamp, Victor Hernandez, Courtenay Krieger, Stefanie Miller, Samantha Mills, Melissa Mitchell, Michael Moon, Terren Mueller, Marc Oka, Leslie Stevens, Karl Warden, Eric Weaver.

Bisom has played in numerous shows at CLOSBC, including " Kiss Me Kate," "The Will Rogers Follies," "Crazy For You" (Ovation Award-Best Musical), "The Wizard of Oz," "Jekyll And Hyde," "Titanic," and "Little Shop of Horrors." TV credits include "Veronica Mars," "Desperate Housewives," "ER," "Charmed," and "The X-Files." His vocal talents can be heard in the Dreamworks animated film "Shrek."

Edwards' Broadway and national stage credits include "Wanda's World, "Mamma Mia!" "Hairspray," "All Shook Up," and "Pippin." Nucci was last seen at CLOSBC in "Grease," and has played on Broadway and in national tours of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," and "Jesus Christ Superstar." Townsend recently toured the country with "Camelot" and played Kim in San Diego Musical Theatre's "Bye Bye Birdie." Lee's last stage credits at CLOSBC include "Cinderella" and "Annie Get Your Gun," and she created the role of Tessie Tura in the Broadway revival of "Gypsy," staring Bernadette peters.

Musical direction of "Bye Bye Birdie" is by Alby Potts, set design is by Christopher Beyries, lighting design by Darrell J. Clark, costumes by Karen L. Cornejo, sound design by John Feinstein, and production stage manager is Gary Breitbach.

Mojica mounted, staged, and supervised all 16 companies of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" around the world, and he has directed and choreographed "Victor Victoria," "Cabaret" with Sam Harris, "Hello, Dolly!" with Jo Anne Worley, and "Singin' in the Rain" with Andrea McArdle.

"Holy Happy Days, hang on to your poodle skirt!" exclaims James A. Blackman III, executive producer of CLOSBC. "See the show that started it all! Before 'Hairspray' there was 'Grease,' and before 'Grease' there was the Tony-award winning 'Bye Bye Birdie,' based on a famous 1950's moment when Elvis swiveled his pelvis into the Armed services, causing a national PR ruckus. It was a sensational event complete with screaming fans, all before MySpace, Email, texting, cell phones, YouTube or CNN."

"Bye Bye Birdie" previews for three performances beginning September 17, opens September 20, and runs through October 5, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., and Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on September 20 and October 4.  Tickets are priced at $40 to $60 and can be purchased online at civiclightopera.com or by calling (310) 372-4477.  The Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center is located on the Northeast corner of Aviation and Manhattan Beach Boulevards.

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