Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

February 7, 2013

Bye Bye Birdie...says hello to Wood Hill

Judy Wakefield
Staff Writer

---- — It’s the late 1950s and an Elvis rock ‘n roll rival is all the rage.

His name is Conway Twitty. Twitty is truly a country singer. The musical “Bye Bye Birdie” is a satirical take on Twitty’s story during the Elvis era.

The story was inspired by the phenomenon of Elvis and his draft notice into the Army in 1957. In the show, “Conrad Birdie” is really Conway Twitty and he gets drafted, too. Birdie has fun saying goodbye to his biggest fan in Ohio as he heads overseas. Before leaving for the Army, he is going to bestow one last kiss on superfan Kim MacAfee.

This weekend, Wood Hill Middle School stages this 1961 Tony Award-winning musical that also earned Dick Van Dyke a Tony award.

“We selected this show because it is a lot of fun, and it has a lot of great characters. We like to get as many kids a good part as we can, and this show offers that,” Wood Hill Middle drama advisor Katie Rey reported.

Plus, the show is set in the 1950s and the Facebook generation gets a history lesson on the way it used to be in the world of music in this country.

“It’s great to do a show set in the ‘50s. The costumes are great, and it gives kids a little history lesson as well,” Rye said in an email.

The Wood Hill Middle show is predominantly run by students.

“We have student directors, stage crew, tech crew and musicians. The idea is that the students will get a feel for the whole process, and be really proud of the end result because they had such a big hand in the production of the show,” Rey said.

CAST

Part Actor

Albert Peterson Jonathon Combs

Rose Alvarez Alyssa Cochran-Caggiano

Kim MacAfee Michaela Verrette

Conrad Birdie Jack Fraser

Mae Peterson Rosemary DeLuca

Mr. MacAfee Alex Eliasen

Mrs. MacAfee Allie Tankel

Randolph MacAfee Maya Marciano

Hugo Peabody Matt Beetham

Ursula Merkle Rosali Cabrera

Harvey Johnson Sean Dawson

Gloria Rasputin Cecelia Vieira

Nancy Catalina Aycardi

Alice Sarah MacGregor

Helen Katie Wolfendale

Deborah Sue Jenna Bortolussi

Penelope Natalie Kushner

Margie Sage Zipeto

Suzie Michaela Abraham

Ed Sullivan Anna Vrountas

Bartender Shyan Koul

Mayor Oliver Gorham

Mrs. Merkle Tatiana Tompkins

Mayor’s Wife Mary Rose Saad

Sweet Apple Teens: Natalie Caffrey, Belle Haslam, Emerson Kennedy, Mathew Lem. Lauren McDowell, Alyssa Puleo, Madison Quill, Katie Rasmussen, Tula Sifling, Michael Spring, Angela Szarek, Sibi Thirumalai, Maddy Wagner, John Walsh, Gabrielle Batista, Daniel Bernstein, Paige Long, Michael Makiej, Molly McQuaide, Rory O’Brien, Julia Parziale, Audry Prater, Julia Sergeant, Cathy Sie, Julianne Stein, Kaleigh Stuart, Hannah Tassinari, Lexie Trant, Sophia Wang and Barbara Yachnin

Student Directors: Rosemary DeLuca, Alex Eliasen, Jack Fraser, Natalie Kushner, Michaela Verrette

Student Stage Crew Directors: Bill Rui, Eriq Gasse

Student Tech Crew Director: Julia McBride

WHAT: Bye Bye Birdie WHERE: Wood Hill Middle School Auditorium TICKETS: $10 advance, $12 door WHEN: Feb. 8 and 9, 7 p.m.