---- — 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.
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.