Park Center Senior High will present the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” by Michael Steward beginning March 1.
When the ’50s rock star Conrad Birdie is drafted into the army, his manager, Albert Peterson, wants him to go out with a bang. Peterson sets up a farewell bash on the Ed Sullivan Show, where Birdie will kiss one lucky teenage girl before he dons a uniform. But when Kim MacAfee from Sweet Apple, Ohio, is chosen, it causes a lot of drama in her home town. And Peterson has his own drama to deal with as well.
The production playfully pokes fun at the craze over Elvis Presley when he was drafted into the military. But producer Mary Gagnon says the show has something for everyone – whether you remember Elvis or not.
“It’s a fun night,” she said. “It’s really lighthearted.”
Reed Kaliher, the senior who plays Kim’s father, agrees.
“It’s got a lot of comedy for adults and teens,” he said. But he thinks the music, choreography and energy also appeal to a young audience.
“Bye Bye Birdie” marks Kaliher’s fourth acting role in a musical at Park Center.
Julia Holmes, who plays Kim MacAfee, is less experienced, but is enjoying the learning process. She played violin in the pit in the last three productions. This is her first time acting in the show.
“Actually, it’s been a lot more fun than I thought,” she said. “Everyone makes it a lot of fun. We’re just kind of learning as we go.”
Holmes’ favorite song in the musical is “Hymn for a Sunday Evening,” the song on the Ed Sullivan show.
That song seemed to be a favorite among the cast.
“It’s a purely comedic song,” Kaliher said.
Alina Jambor, who plays a character named Rose, also said that song is her favorite. She said the best part is the participation of two younger siblings of one of the cast members.
Jambor also said audience members who have seen the movie version of “Bye Bye Birdie” should come expecting something a little different. The basic plot is similar, but there are a lot of differences. She said that’s not a bad thing – she prefers the musical.
“It’s so much more fun,” she said. “There’s so much more energy.”
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If you go:
What: “Bye Bye Birdie,” the musical
When: 7:30 p.m. March 1-2 and March 7-9, 3 p.m. March 3.
Where: Park Center Senior High, 7300 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park
Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors
Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or 763-569-7600 (Mary Gagnon)