KANSAS - It's 1958. Music is recorded on vinyl, term papers are produced on mechanical typewriters and phones have wires connected to the wall. A rock 'n' roll icon gets a military draft notice at the height of his career, throwing his fans into an uproar. A member of his fan club is chosen to get the singer's "One Last Kiss" before his departure.
This is the setting for the musical "Bye Bye Birdie." Lakota High School and Middle School students are to stage the show at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the school's auditeria.
Written by Michael Steward with music by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, the story unfolds as Conrad Birdie is about to be inducted into the Army. This development means the money for his agent, Albert Peterson, will abruptly stop. Albert's faithful secretary Rose sees a chance to get Albert to give up show business, become an English teacher and marry her. She devises the plan for Conrad's send-off.
PHOTO BY MARYANN KROMER
The phone lines are humming as the girls of Sweet Apple High School share the latest news the old-fashioned way during “The Telephone Hour.”
Kim MacAfee, of Sweet Apple, Ohio, is chosen to accept the kiss. Rose and Albert arrange for the girl and her family to appear on Ed Sullivan's television show as Conrad sings and delivers "One Last Kiss."
What begins as a publicity stunt leads to unexpected complications.
In the roles of Albert and Rose are David Murphy and Carlee Conrad. Kyleigh Harrison is cast as Kim, with Collin Gosche as Birdie. Portraying the MacAfee family are Cody Steiner, Gates McGough, and Caleb Chalfin. Hunter Chalfin plays Kim's jealous boyfriend, Hugo.
The plan is for Conrad to visit Sweet Apple and stay at the MacAfee home. The small town swarms with reporters as the mayor (Kyler Painter) welcomes the singer and the high school students clamor to see their idol in the flesh. Sweet Apple ladies young and old swoon at Conrad's rendition of "Honestly Sincere."
Behind the scenes, Albert and Rose argue. Despite a long engagement, Rose still is single because Albert cannot cut the apron strings from his needy mother (Jessica Walter). Then, Mrs. Peterson appears in Sweet Apple, introduces Albert to Gloria (Elizabeth Graber) and suggests Gloria replace Rose as secretary.
The action heats up as the conflicts come to a head, but the show's many popular tunes keep the mood upbeat. They include "Put on a Happy Face," "How Lovely to Be a Woman," "A Lot of Livin' to Do," "Kids" and "Rosie." Less familiar but funny are "The Telephone Hour" and "Hymn for a Sunday Evening - Ed Sullivan."
Students playing minor characters are Lauren Raymond, Zach Taulker, Evie Hankins, Samantha Reinbolt, Nathan Walter, Adrian Vanderbeke, Tyler Wehrle and Evan Lewis. The telephone girls include: Jessica James, Ivy Rubel, Kelsey Johnson, Caris Conrad, Brooklyn Ware, Kim Boyer, Abbey Strausbaugh, Rachel Miller, Hannah Miller, Michaela McCoy, Gabrielle McGough, Makenna Linkey, Morgan Johnson and Kelsey Tennison.
A local barbershop quartet, Archive, is to join the students for a few musical selections. A colorful set and costumes add zest to the performances as the characters deal with the generation gap, fear of commitments and the darker side of glamour and fame.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. They can be purchased in advance or at the door.
For more details, call (419) 986-6640, ext. 118, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.