Bye Bye, Birdie
It may have been Bye Bye, Birdie
But it was Hello Entertainment
The Sayville Middle School musical Bye Bye, Birdie couldn’t have been more energizing. With superb singing, smooth dancing, comedic portrayals of clashing cultures between grownups and kids, and a team of screaming teens chasing celebrity/heartthrob Conrad Birdie, there was hardly a dull moment on stage.
The story opens with the upsetting news that rock-and-roll idol Conrad Birdie has been drafted. The star’s struggling songwriter Albert Peterson is in a panic. Birdie was his last chance for fame and fortune. Now with his star vehicle going into the army, Albert will have to close his company. But thanks to his resourceful assistant and long-suffering girlfriend Rose Alvarez, all is not lost. Rosie devises a way to turn misfortune into opportunity with a clever publicity stunt:
- Get Conrad on the Ed Sullivan show;
- Have him sing Albert’s song written especially for this occasion;
- Televise Birdie planting a goodbye kiss on Kim MacAfee, a high school girl randomly picked from Birdie’s national fandom.
This media attention would propel Birdie’s last song to the top of the charts, Albert will be able to get out of the show biz rat race for a more respectable job as an English teacher, and then, as Rosie hoped, she and Albert could get married at last.
It seems a sure thing. What could go wrong?
• Albert’s meddling mother, Mae Peterson, who opposes Albert and Rose marrying and runs interference with the likes of tap dancer Gloria Rasputin;
• Kim MacAfee’s overprotective father whose life has been turned upside down by hordes of crazed teenage girls serenading the rock star staying in his home;
• Kim’s jealous boyfriend, Hugo Peabody, who is spurred on to punch Birdie on national television by a spurned Rosie.
Showcasing the enormous singing and dancing talents both of the lead players, as well as the ensemble students, were such entertaining musical numbers as: An English Teacher, The Telephone Hour, Put on a Happy Face, How Lovely To Be a Woman, A Healthy Normal American Boy, One Boy, Honestly Sincere, Hymn for a Sunday Evening: Ed Sullivan, One Last Kiss, Spanish Rose, Rosie, What Did I Ever See in Him, A Lot of Living to Do, and Kids. It was hard to pick a favorite.
Kudos To The Players:
- Suave-voiced Hunter Caiazzo charismatically personified the teen idol Birdie with such rousing performances in Honestly Sincere, One Last Kiss, and Lots of Living To Do.
- Aidan DeVerna carried the lead role of Albert with gusto and charm in Put On A Happy Face and Rosie.
- Triple-threat Caterina Harris delivered a clever Rosie, singing An English Teacher, What Did I Ever See in Him, dancing (Spanish Rose, Rosie), and demonstrating exceptional grace under fire especially when targeted by Mae Peterson’s constant zingers.
- Instantly endearing as Kim MacAfee, Gianna Romano showcased her exquisite voice especially in How Lovely To Be A Woman, One Boy and Hymn for a Sunday Evening: Ed Sullivan.
- Erik Person portraying Hugo Peabody landed the perfect punch as the jealous boyfriend, simmering in teen angst!
- Victoria Earvolino was hysterically magnificent as the smothering martyr Mae Peterson.
- Evan Powers delivered comic bluster as the enormously frustrated Mr. MacAfee and fantastic harmony in the Hymn For a Sunday Evening.
- Nora O’Donnell as Mrs.MacFee not only harmonized the discord between Kim and MacAfee but also provided a lovely balance in the four-part Ed Sullivan song.
- Dylan Schneider was a stand-out Randolph MacAfee with quick comic asides, but especially distinguished his singing talents in the Ed Sullivan song and the musical reprisal of Kids.
- Olivia Reiss exhibited great voice and high-pitched enthusiasm in her role as excitable fangirl Ursula.
- Additional players included: Kylie Corrao—Helen; Asher DeVerna—Mr. Johnson; Jacob Diaz—Harvey; Noelle Bartolotta—Alice; Ben Flaumenhaft—Maude; Kyle Finn—Reporter; Maya Guacci—Fan Club; Samantha Hmelovsky—Fan Club; Liam Landwehrle—Cop; Emma Law—Gloria; Grace McCavanagh—Nancy; Jillian Miller—Fan Club; Molly McGinnis—Fan Club; Maggie Mongiello—Debra Sue; Andrew Person—Stage Manager; Jude Ramsaywak—Reporter; Sarah Ramsundar—Margie; Angelina Sagginario—Mrs. Merkle; Julie Weisenberger—Fan Club; Amelia Wells—Mayors Wife; Graham Whitbread—Trainman; Matthew Zender—Mayor
Congratulations to everyone in the enthusiastic ensemble, Director/Choreographer Kim DuFrenoy, Musical Director Fred Diekmann, Producer Ari Kramer, Sound Joseph Albanese, Lighting Steve Hailey, Set Construction Ken Van Essendelft and the behind-the-scenes Middle School production, sound, and lighting crews, High School volunteers, and orchestra [Concor Riccomini—bass; Josh Ganci—trumpet; Justin Milliner–trumpet (Fri and Sat), Diane Hoffman—trombone; Philip Rinaldi—keyboard bass; Friend Diekmann—keyboard; Joe LoSchiavo—guitar; John Anderson—drums; Keri VanBoxel—reeds] for their time and talents that made Birdies’s farewell lots of fun.