SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — It has been a big year for St. John’s drama club, from a sold out play last spring, to new curtains and now preparing for their quickly approaching musical, “Bye Bye Birdie.”
Originally titled “Let’s Go Steady,” “Bye Bye Birdie” was written by Michael Stewart and music by Charles Strouse. The musical is set in the quaint town of Sweet Apple Ohio, home of the Conrad Birdie Fan Club. When singer and heartthrob Conrad Birdie, played by Jacob Emerson, is drafted into the army, 15-year-old Kim MaCafee (Caroline Kovacs) is randomly selected to be kissed by Conrad Birdie on the Ed Sullivan Show before he leaves. We see the conflicts of Kim and her “steady” Hugo Peabody (Dane Gustafson) as she begins to forget him. Further conflict ensues with Conrad’s manager Albert Peterson (Tristan Kile) and his secretary and lover Rose Alvarez (Reilly DeGeorge) as he chooses his mother and his music business over her and teaching English.
Audience members will be dancing in their seats as they hear catchy tunes as well as some familiar lyrics. “The Telephone Hour” is a number that’s shows the teens gossip over the phone about the hottest pinning between Hugo and Kim. “Happy Face” is a recognizable song sung by Albert to a group of sad girls. Faster songs include upbeat dance numbers choreographed by Maria Solembrino and Sarah Mudd. “A Lot of Livin’ to Do” and “Spanish Rose” are both rebellious and carefree dance numbers that will have the audience tapping their toes.
The show will take place on Friday and Saturday. Curtain time is 7 p.m. The prices for tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $8 for adults. Tickets can be bought at the door a half hour before the show starts.
The show is directed by Jenean Kile, who has been active in theater for her whole life. She has brought a great amount of energy and passion to St. John’s Drama Department throughout the years. The assistant director is Tiffani Murphy, a recent graduate of Notre Dame College and 2010 alumnae of St. John. The technical director is Kirsten Emerson. Last but definitely not least, the music is by Joy Leirer.
Jordan Scott said, “She (Kile) has given me more confidence and helped me project my voice throughout singing and saying my lines. Jenean helped me with my singing too. I never thought I could sing until I auditioned for the play and she has shown me how wrong.”
When asked about the performance, Ali Rocco said “I’m so excited to see the show. Our students from our school have so much talent and are very involved in outside activities at the Arts Center. I know it will be great.”