Photo by Linda Gjesvold

BYE BYE BIRDIE ROCKS!

a Review by Larkin

Bye Bye Birdie is considered a frothy and silly show

   As for the  Putnam County Playhouse production, it is frothy but not silly. But more than that Its fun, well performed and highly energized.

   First, a little about the show itself: 

Photo by Linda Gjesvold
 
   The lead character is Albert Peterson (Brad Sandy) a talent manager who always thinks he is down on his luck.  Then there is his secretary Rose Alvarez (played by Meghan  Armitage), who is about ready to resign after eight years of working with Albert as his secretary and fiance.

   Then there's rock and roll singer Conrad Birdie (T.J. Tincher), Albert's client who's about the be drafted into the army after his next concert. It's 1958, you know.

   Rose gets an idea:  She decides to draw a name from a box of Birdie fan club members - the lucky girl will give Conrad his one last kiss before he goes into the Army.  Rose picks out Kim MacAfee (played by Rebecca Whitcomb) a teen from Sweet Apple, Ohio.

Photo by Linda Gjesvold

   All sorts of things happen when Conrad gets to Sweet Apple,  Girls and women faint, Kim's father (Scott Armitage) falls in love with Ed Sullivan and out of love with Conrad, and Kim's boyfriend Hugo Peabody (Elijah Brattain), doesn't just get jealous, he gets very very jealous. In fact Hugo accuses Conrad

of being a "thief of love."

Photo by Linda Gjesvold

   And I forgot to tell you about Albert's mother, Mrs. Mae  Peterson (Kim Brattain), who has a leash on Albert and hates Rose about as much as anyone can. "Call me Mrs. Peterson."

Photo by Linda Gjesvold


   Everything works out in the end of course.  Albert and Rose are in love. Kim and Hugo repair their relationship and Conrad goes into the Army and Mae goes back to New York.  End of story.

   Kudos to the co-directors, Bryan Schroeder and Lita Sandy.  They managed to keep track of more than 50 actors and numerous set changes with dispatch.

   Here are people worth mentioning on the actors' side:

   Sandy and Armitage (she was known as Meghan McClaine before she got married last year) give their usual fine performances.  Their singing was outstanding. The final sweet number "Rosie" was a crowd pleaser that left the audience smiling.

Photo by Linda Gjesvold

   Tincher (who plays Conrad) had a lot of fun with his role, and his comic timing was excellent.  He was the typical rock and roll singer whom  you don't know whether to love or hate

when the show is over.

Photo by Linda Gjesvold


   Rebecca Whilcomb, who plays Kim in her first PCPH role, is an outstanding singer and will be welcomed back again and again if when she decides to return.

   Scott Armitage who played Mr. MacAfee, was hilarious.

   Kim Brattain, who played Mama, was one of the best I've ever seen in the role.  She was beyond hilarious.

   Jessica Walter, who played a potential dancer-secretary (and she's not exactly qualified for either job) did a version of Swanee River which defies description.

Photo by Linda Gjesvold

   Thomas Whitcomb, plays the McAfree son Randolph,   He has an excellent voice for a young singer
.

Photo by Linda Gjesvold

   And there is Alex Asbell, who plays Harvey Johnson, the lead male singer in "The Telephone Hour".  He does a dance later on in the show which is as energetic as anything in the play.

Photo by Linda Gjesvold

   Others who played major  roles include Krista Harrison (Mrs. MacAfee), Dustin Bond (Hugo's father), Chris Wurster, who played the mayor and Andrea Sweet, who  plays his wife with a fine fainting spell.

   The rest of the cast:  Mira Hoffman, Lori Briones, Chelsea Leach, Taylor Gannaway, Amelia Beck, Hanna Brattain, Alex Briones, Sydney Cassida, Kayla Clodfelter, Julie Cox,Emilie Gill, Ethan Gill, Kendra Green, Dylan Harrison, Olivia Humphreys, Mary Pearl Ivy, Chelsea Leach, Joe Lippard, Elise Merrell, Shayanne Parker, Carly Rhine, Mimi Short, Tiana Shrewsbury, Cy Spencer, Lily Spencer, Courtney Sweet, Lori Baker, Debra Beck, Julie Cox, Dylan Harrison, Vanessa Short, Aiden Baker, Evan Baker, Sara Baker and Ivy Whipple.

   The music director is Pat Scott.  The rest of the band is Lynne Tweedie on keyboard, Michael McClaine on percussion, Drew Brattain on bass and Vivian Whitaker on saxophone and clarinet.


   The stage manager was Jessica Masner, light design was by Schroeder, sound design was by Schroder and Matt McClaine.

   The assistant choreographer as Tammy Alex. The stage crew was Tim Peyton, Noah Cox, Zachary Masner and Josh Masner. Lighting assistance was by Matt McClaine, Bond and Peyton.

   Costumes were  by Sarah Bond, Pat Armitage ad Sophia Spencer.  Light board operator as by Brenda McClaine and sound operator was the Matt McClaine.

   Special scenic effects were by Linda Gjesvold, Sarah McClaine, David Howe and Carrie Howe.  

   Set construction and paint crew include Schroeder, Brad Sandy, Scott Armitage, T.J. Tincher, Dustin Bond, Alex Briones, Lori Briones, Chelsea Leach, Jessica Masner, Morgan Davis, Chris Wurster, Lori Banker, Evan Baker, Aidan Baker, Alex Asbell, Mary Pearl Ivy, Sydney Cassida, Carly Rhine and Elise Merrell.

Congratulations to PCPH on choosing the show - and presenting it so very, very well!  Most performances of the show sold out - and deservedly so!