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Bye Bye Birdie
One of the biggest stars on Broadway in the 1960s wasn’t Elvis—but he sure did look like him. That would be Conrad Birdie, the namesake rock star of Bye Bye Birdie who finds out that he’s been drafted into the Army. But before he leaves, his agent Albert Peterson and secretary (and Albert’s sweetheart) Rosie Alvarez dream up one last publicity stunt: have Birdie sing Albert’s newest song on the Ed Sullivan Show, then give one lucky fan a goodbye kiss. The fan in question turns out to be 15-year-old Kim MacAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio. There’s only one problem: Kim’s already got a fella of her own. Add in her well-meaning but clueless parents, Albert’s overbearing mother, and a national performance on live TV, and the stage seems set for disaster—and a whole lot of singing.
It’s no surprise that many of Bye Bye Birdie’s musical numbers have now become standards, from the bouncy optimism of “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” and “Put On a Happy Face” to the grousing “Kids,” immortalized by the charismatically cranky Paul Lynde on Broadway and in the subsequent film adaptation. Also reprising their Broadway role in the movie was some nobody named Dick Van Dyke, alongside newcomers Maureen Stapleton, Janet Leigh, Bobby Rydell, and Ann-Margaret.
Stage Right! is one-part theater, one-part school, and all-parts dedicated to the performing arts. As a theater company, it presents family-friendly plays and musicals featuring professional performers. As a school, it fosters children's creativity and self-discipline, and offers opportunities to put learning into action through annual student productions and and a show choir. But whether hosting classes or hoisting the curtain on a new show, Stage Right! makes quality entertainment its mission.