EAST MARLBOROUGH — Get out your poodle skirts, dust off your saddle shoes, slick back your hair and join Upland Country Day School as the eighth and ninth graders present the Tony Award-winning musical, Bye Bye Birdie, with two rock’n’roll community performances, Thursday, Nov. 8th and Friday, November 9th. Shows are at 6:30 p.m. each night. Admission is free.
Bye Bye Birdie is a family-friendly musical comedy that tells the story of rock and roll idol Conrad Birdie – an Elvis-type singer who has just been drafted into the U.S. Army. Before heading overseas, Conrad’s mild mannered agent devises a publicity stunt to have him appear on The Ed Sullivan Show to sing a song and give One Last Kiss to a lucky girl from his fan club before heading off to boot camp. When a local girl is chosen as that lucky girl, the teenage hysteria begins. Everyone in her small town is thrilled except her boyfriend and of course, her parents. Jealousy and hilarity ensue in this heartwarming musical.
Featuring such classics as “Put On A Happy Face,” “Lot Of Livin’ To Do” and “Kids,” the production features a cast of 30 eighth and ninth graders, with Ryan Snowden as Albert Peterson, Gianna Gonzalez as feisty Rosie Alvarez, Hughie Plumb as heartthrob Conrad Birdie, Jacqueline Kenny as Kim McAfee, the would-be recipient of Birdie’s “last kiss,” Jake Hutchison as Hugo Peabody, her jealous boyfriend, Hannah Sailer as Conrad-obsessed teen Ursula Merkle, Will McCarter as the befuddled Mr. McAfee and Katie Kozelka as Albert’s over-bearing mother, Mae Peterson.
According to Debbie Phillips, Upland’s theater arts director, each of Upland’s eighth and ninth graders has a part in the play. They began auditioning for Birdie when school started in early September and have had daily rehearsals each weekday since then. Students contribute in all aspects of the production whether as an actor or on the technical team.
From Bye Bye Birdie to Hamlet, Upland Country Day School is host to numerous musicals and plays each year. Each class, from Pre-Kindergarten through 9th grade, rehearses and performs a dramatic production every year. Through drama, students develop life skills that will help them become well-rounded adults, according to Phillips. Confidence, diction, projection, creative thinking and appreciation for all art forms are skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Bye Bye Birdie is presented at Upland’s Barn Theater, located at 420 West Street Road in Kennett Square. For more information, please call 610-444-3035 or visit www.uplandcds.org.