Say Hello To BYE BYE BIRDIE Heading to SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre

It's 1958 and the teenager world of Sweet Apple, Ohio, is excited when they learn rock and roll superstar Conrad Birdie is coming to their small Midwest town to record a song and kiss one lucky girl before heading off to the Army.

It's a publicity stunt for the drafted singer, and a last-ditch effort to help ease his debts. The silly mayhem that ensues about his pending arrival puts the town in an uproar and results in a frothy, light-hearted romp ideal for summer entertainment.

"Bye Bye Birdie" will sweeten the stage at SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre Aug. 3-18 with performances Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm. The Shell is located at 699 S. State Street, in the heart of SCERA Park.

General admission tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Patrons may bring a blanket or limited quantities of rental chairs are available for $1.00. Reserved, roped-off areas with a free chairs are available for an additional cost. To get tickets, go to www.scera.org, call 801-225-ARTS, in person between 10am-6pm weekdays at the main office at SCERA Center for the Arts (745 S. State Street, Orem) or at the venue gate beginning 90 minutes prior to each performance.

At the time the musical was written, singer Elvis Presley was America's heartthrob, and he had to take a break from performing when the U.S. Army drafted him in 1957. This inspired the team of Michael Stewart, Lee Adams and Charles Strouse to build a show featuring an Elvis-type character.

"This show is such a blast," says Kathryn Laycock Little, who is co-directing the show with her husband, Howard Little. "It is so funny, and we're having a great time with the cast."

Kathryn is also an actor, and "Bye Bye Birdie" was her first high school show. "I grew up on 'Bye, Bye Birdie,' and summer is the perfect time for a high-energy musical under the stars. With this show, it's the sillier the better. It has some underlying depth, but it's presented in the guise of humor."

She is also serving as the shows's music director and has teamed up with Brodee Ripple, the choreographer. "I use Brodee whenever I can," Little says. "He is not only a creative choreographer, he is also great with people. I just think he's good, good, good."

Also assisting the Littles are Shawn Mortensen, who has come up with a brightly-colored 1950s-inspired set. "It feels very period, and is ideal for this show," she says.

Elizabeth Griffiths is lighting director, and the Littles request her whenever they do a show. "Her lighting is beautiful," Kathryn explains, "and she really knows how to set the mood."

"Also helping us create the vintage look at the show is Kelsey Seaver, our amazing costumer." She has created leather pants, a gold sequin jacket, black and gold wing tip shoes and a music note tie for Birdie to represent the part of a sex symbol from a more innocent time.

Props designer Christy Norton has been searching the county for retro props, including 28 rotary phones in multiple bright colors for the upbeat "Telephone Hour" production number.

Leads in the show include Ian Webb as Birdie, Rebecca Boberg as Kim McAfree, Jack Brannelly as Hugo, T'naiha Ellis as Rosie, and Ben Denton as Albert. "They all play the naivety this show requires so well," Kathryn adds. "I expect the audience will have almost as much fun seeing it as we have had rehearsing for it."

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