Music By Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Lee Adams
Book by Michael Stewart
The lively musical Bye Bye Birdie will be
presented by PCPH in August.
A hit since it first opened on Broadway in April, 1960, Bye Bye Birdie! has always been one of the most-produced musicals on stages around the world.
The original Broadway cast included Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera in the leading roles of Albert and Rosie. Others in the cast included Paul Lynde as Harry McAfee, Kay Medford as Mrs. Peterson,
and Dick Gautier as Conrad Birdie.
It was nominated for seven Tony Awards. It won the award for Best Musical, and Dick Van Dyke won for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Gower Champion won for both Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography. Other nominees included Rivera for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (she lost to Tammy Grimes in The Unsinkable Molly Brown), Gautier for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (he lost to Van Dyke), Best Scenic Design Musical (Robert Randolph lost to Oliver Smith for Camelot), and Best Conductor and Musical Director (Elliot Lawrence lost to Franz Allers for Camelot).
Read about the original Broadway production HERE.
Buy the Original Cast Album HERE
The musical was filmed by Columbia in 1963 with Van Dyke and Lynde reprising their roles. Janet Leigh and Maureen Stapleton played the roles originated by Rivera and Medford.
Buy the DVD HERE.
A 1981 sequel Bring Back Birdie closed after 4 Broadway performances.
A 1995 television production starred Jason Alexander and
Vanessa L. Williams. Tyne Daly played Mrs. Albertson.
Buy the DVD HERE
The most recent New York production played Henry Miller's Theater October 15, 2009, and closed on January 24, 2010. It featured John Stamos and Gina Gershon in the leading roles.
Bye Bye Birdie was last produced by PCPH in 1987. It was directed and choreographed by Jack Randall Earles. It featured Marc Adams and Sandi Ulrey Robles in the leading roles. Francoise Coulant-Henderson played Mrs. Peterson and Dr. William Frisbie was Mr. McAfee.
Our new production will be directed by
Lita Sandy & Bryan Schroeder.
(Don't read this if you don't want to know what happens!)
Agent and songwriter Albert Peterson finds himself in trouble when hip-thrusting rock and roll superstar Conrad Birdie is drafted into the Army. Albert's secretary and sweetheart, Rose Alvarez, comes up with a last-ditch publicity stunt to have Conrad Birdie record and premiere a song before he is sent overseas. She makes Albert promise to give up the music business and to start teaching English at schools. ("An English Teacher.") They plan to have Birdie sing Albert's new song "One Last Kiss" and give one lucky girl from his fan club a real "last kiss" on the Ed Sullivan Show before going into the Army.
The lucky girl chosen randomly from Conrad's national fan club is fifteen-year-old Kim MacAfee from Sweet Apple, Ohio . All the teenagers in Sweet Apple are catching up on the latest gossip about Kim MacAfee and Hugo Peabody going steady ("The Telephone Hour"). Kim, excited to have a boyfriend, reflects on how happy she is with her maturity ("How Lovely to Be a Woman"). Conrad, Albert and Rosie set off to Sweet Apple to prepare for the event. Before they depart by train from New York City, local teenage girls are ecstatic to meet Conrad, but two young girls are sad that by the time Conrad gets out of the army, they'll be too old for him. Albert advises them to be optimistic
("Put on a Happy Face").
Soon, reporters arrive and ask Albert, Rosie, and the teenagers about Conrad ("A Healthy, Normal, American Boy"). Conrad receives a hero's welcome in Sweet Apple, and Hugo worries that Kim likes Conrad more than she likes him, but Kim assures Hugo that he's the only boy she loves ("One Boy"). Conrad shocks the town parents and drives the teenage girls crazy with his performance of "Honestly Sincere".
Conrad becomes a guest in the MacAfee house and irritates Kim's father, Harry MacAfee, by being a rude and selfish guest and calling him "Fats". But, Harry's wife Doris dotes on Conrad, leaving her husband with no breakfast other than a warm soft drink. Harry does not want Kim to kiss Conrad until Albert tells him their whole family will be on The Ed Sullivan Show. Harry, Doris, Kim, and her younger brother Randolph sing Sullivan's praises in "Hymn for a Sunday Evening".
Hugo becomes disastrously jealous of Conrad. Albert's overbearing, interfering mother Mae comes to break up her son's relationship with Rosie. Although Rosie is a positive influence, Mae is narrow-minded and dislikes Rosie dating her son.
Rosie and Hugo plot a way to ruin the broadcast. Conrad sings "One Last Kiss" on The Ed Sullivan Show, and as he leans in to kiss Kim, Hugo runs onstage and punches him in the face. On live television, Conrad collapses, Rosie breaks up with Albert, and Albert, trying to cover for the mishaps of the evening, leads a chorus of
"A Healthy, Normal, American Boy" (Reprise).
Despite plans to refilm the broadcast, Rosie and Kim resolve to leave Albert and Hugo, each asking herself, "What Did I Ever See in Him?" Conrad decides he wants to go out and have a good time on his last night as a civilian, and encourages the teens to party, and they declare they've got "A Lot of Livin' to Do". Conrad, Kim, and all the teenagers except Hugo head for the Ice House where they can party without adult supervision.
Hugo goes to Maude's Roadside Retreat, hoping to get drunk, but proprietor Charles F. Maude can tell that he's under age and refuses to serve him.
When Mr. MacAfee finds out Kim has run away, he and Mrs. MacAfee lament how disobedient "Kids" are today. Rosie ends up at Maude's Roadside Retreat, but Albert calls her on the telephone and begs her, "Baby Talk To Me". Rosie, hoping to forget Albert, interrupts a meeting being held in Maude's private dining room. She flirts with all the Shriners, and they begin a wild dance.
Hugo and Albert rescue Rosie from the crazed Shriners, and Albert finally stands up to his mother, telling her to go home. Hugo tells the MacAfees and the other parents that the teenagers have all gone to the Ice House, and they all declare that they don't know what's wrong with their "Kids" (Reprise). Randolph joins in, stating that his older sister and the other teens are "ridiculous and so immature".
The adults and the police arrive at the Ice House and arrest Conrad, although he doesn't appear to have done anything illegal or immoral. Kim claims that she was intimidated by Conrad and Hugo gladly takes her back. After a reconciliation with Albert, Rosie sees Albert's mother and declares that she will marry Albert despite the mother's objections, and to irritate her, sings "Spanish Rose". Albert bails Conrad out of jail and arranges for him to sneak out of town dressed as a middle-aged woman—presumably so he can report for Army induction as scheduled.
Albert also gets his mother to leave Sweet Apple bound for home on the same train, and then tells Rosie that they're going to Pumpkin Falls, Iowa. The small town is in need of an English teacher, and they prefer the applicant to be married. Albert professes his love for her in "Rosie", and they go off together.