The students of Theatre Arts presented the musical "Bye Bye Birdie" to a packed audience Thursday night and their performance electrified the crowd from beginning to end.
The story tells of Conrad Birdie (Benji Hadar), a rock-star heart throb who has captured the hearts of girls in Sweet Apple, Ohio. When he is drafted into the army, agent/songwriter Albert Peterson (Brett Burian) and his secretary, Rosie Alvarez (Alyssa Cohen) find themselves in trouble. In their last effort to devise a successful publicity stunt, they plan to have Conrad give one lucky fan of his 'one last kiss' before he leaves. Rosie then makes Albert to quit the music industry after this is over, and become an English teacher.
That one lucky fan turned out to be Kimberly MacAfee (Christina Trivelli), whose parents (Mrs. Doris MacAffe - Jillian Feinstein, Mr. Harry MacAfee - Max Benezra) were not pleased with. Kimberly also has a devoted admirer whom she has agreed to "go steady" with - a local boy named Hugo Peabody (Alex Lombardi). The tension and obsession over Conrad captures the town, and they are all invited onto The Ed Sullivan Show for a performance by Mr. Birdie himself.
The young students, especially the stars Brett Burian and Alyssa Cohen, excited the audience with spectacular singing and acting abilities. The student pit orchestra, conducted by Laurence , provided outstanding, professional sounding music.
Songs like "One Last Kiss," "What Did I Ever See In Him?," "Rosie," "Honestly Sincere," and "We Love You Conrad," were executed beautifully. Burian's impressive dancing to "Put On A Happy Face,"and Cohen's Latin dancing to "Spanish Rose," were among the highlights of the play.
Other highlights included the swagger and comedic acting by Benji Hadar as Conrad. The melodramatic personality of Mrs. Mae Peterson had everyone laughing. The obsessed fan of Conrad, Ursula Merkle (Hali Garber), provided for a high level of emotion that captured everyone, and the Teen Chorus and Sad Girls featured top notch singing during the play as well.
Directed and choreographed by Gene Connor, the play proved to be a success as the crowd gave a roaring standing ovation to the students as they held hands and took a bow.