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Hello, “Bye Bye Birdie”

The+promotion+poster+for+Bye+Bye+Birdie+will+soon+be+seen+around+the+school.+Andrew+Barron+designed+the+poster.
The promotion poster for Bye Bye Birdie will soon be seen around the school. Andrew Barron designed the poster.

The promotion poster for Bye Bye Birdie will soon be seen around the school. Andrew Barron designed the poster.

The promotion poster for Bye Bye Birdie will soon be seen around the school. Andrew Barron designed the poster.

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The drama department is sending off the seniors this year with a blast, just like the musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” in which rock and roll star Conrad Birdie makes his final goodbye before reporting for his draft in the US Army.

The musical, set in 1958, features Albert Peterson, agent for Birdie, and his sweetheart and secretary Rosie Alvarez, who plan to have Birdie sing the song “One Last Kiss” on the Ed Sullivan Show and actually kiss avid fan Kim MacAfee before he leaves in a final marketing attempt to save their record company.  However, when Kim’s boyfriend Hugo gets jealous, problems arise.

The play has distinct rock-and-roll vibes, inspired by the Elvis Presley draft.  The cast stars Jayden Forsness, junior, as Albert Peterson; Graciela Aguilar, senior, as Rosie Alvarez; Jahmal Rogers, junior, as Conrad Birdie and Emma Wrigley, junior, as Kim MacAfee.  These actors, along with the other roles selected during open auditions held in January, will be performing each evening from Feb. 28 to March 3, with a matinee on March 3.  

Tyler Pullen, Clarisse Guevarra, Katie Nelson and Kaylah Copeland, along with the rest of the ensemble, rehearse one of their scenes. Photograph by Stephanie Wang

This will be the seniors’ last major performance before the end of the year, and there have been many troubles along the way as well.  One of these was the injury of Mr. Roger Graziani, who broke his ankle after falling down the stairs in December of 2017.  Mrs. Bonnie Shockey, English teacher, stood in for him temporarily during casting and auditions until his recent return this month.  “We’ve been forced to improvise and try to run things without [Mr. Graziani].  Mrs. Shockey conducted and filled in for him during the audition process and the casting,” set director Sam Miller, junior, said.

However, much of the production is student-run, and this musical in particular is one that is very new for the current crew.  “It’s so different because this one is a musical.  I [was assistant director for “Moon over Buffalo”], too, and that was a lot easier because we had a cast of around 12 maximum.  Going to 48 people in this one and trying to manage everybody is really crazy.  A show and a musical is really different, but it’s exciting, too,” assistant director Madi Roset, senior, said.

Assistant directors Madi Roset and Tala Qasqas confer about the play. Photograph by Stephanie Wang.

Rehearsals continue this month, with the assisting directors heading the meetups after school.  These can go on for hours, and the catchphrase to keep the cast and crew attentive is, “Do you want to go home today?” as each scene take so long to perfect.

Mrs. Portnoy works with the cast to prepare the songs for the musical. Photograph by Stephanie Wang

Some other changes include different staff, including a new choreographer.  “We’ve been working with Angelo for about 11 years.  After a long process, the district decided to revoke his ability to work with us.  He was our technical director, our choreographer, our set-builder and our designer.  We didn’t really have a choice.  But Mrs. Portnoy said that she had a phenomenal choreographer for choir, and we called her in.  And Emily’s been our choreographing our show so far,” assistant director Tala Qasqas, junior, said.

With the show approaching, many of the students running the show are stressed, but they know that this production will be as good as any of their previous ones.  “I’m super happy to be in part of it because I knew whatever I did in my senior year was going to be huge.  I think directing it is my way of making a statement especially since [Mr. Graziani] was gone during the first part of it.  I’m super excited,” Madi added.

Tickets are currently on sale at cohsdrama.weebly.com.

 

 

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Hello, “Bye Bye Birdie”