Much to like about ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ at LHS

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Lauren Boyd (left) and Emily Bennett stand in the foreground as they and their “Bye Bye Birdie” castmates sing “Telephone Hour.” The London High School musical hits the stage March 9-11 with a special preview for senior citizens on March 7.

(Posted March 3, 2017)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

There’s much to like about being a cast member in London High School’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” Just ask senior Nathan Adkins.

“The show’s not really heavily focused on one person or a couple; it’s spread out across an assortment of characters. There are several overarching storylines. And it’s a comedy, so it’s fun to perform,” he said.

There’s much for the audience to like about the show, too, not the least of which is the music. Just ask senior Aaron Gates.

“It’s definitely a show where the music sticks in your head. They are tunes you can pick up easily. They’ll definitely stick with you after the show and have you wanting to come see it again,” he said.

Gates plays the title role of Conrad Birdie, a much-adored rock-and-roll idol who has been drafted into the United States Army. Adkins plays Albert, Conrad’s songwriter and agent.

Albert and his secretary and sometime girlfriend, Rosie (played by Sarah George), plan a farewell performance to take place on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their hope is the appearance will help to sell Birdie’s new song, “One Last Kiss,” and save Almaelou Records from going under. The plan also involves Birdie giving “one last kiss” to Kim MacAfee (played by Zoey Marshall), a member of the Conrad Birdie Fan Club from Sweet Apple, Ohio.

When Albert and Rosie head to Sweet Apple to prepare for Birdie’s arrival, their plan starts to fall apart. Kim’s father (played by Hobbes Treynor) is star struck at the thought of appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show with his daughter. Kim’s boyfriend, Hugo (played by Clayton Arvin), is jealous at the thought of Kim kissing Conrad on national television.

Gates said his role as Birdie is a big departure from his previous turns on stage. He was happy-go-lucky as Nicely Nicely in “Guys & Dolls” and murderous as Jonathan Brewster in “Arsenic and Old Lace.” As Conrad, he’s a ladies’ man.

Adkins said his role as Albert is a challenge because of his character’s mood swings: “Most of the time he is nervous and overly excited…and he’s a big mama’s boy.”

Adkins, Gates, and many of the other seniors in the show have performed together several times over their high school careers. The outgoing group of actors and singers is putting their all into this show.

“We’re going to try to go out with a bang, make it a last fun show together,” Adkins said.

“It will be a great production,” Gates added.

Showtimes for London High School’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie” are 7 p.m. March 9-11 in the high school auditorium. Admission is $7.

Senior citizens are invited to watch the dress rehearsal on March 7 at no charge. Free refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. followed by the performance at 6:30.

Vocal music instructor Tim Tanner is the show’s director.


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