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Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,
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"Bye, Bye Birdie" to play at CHS July 25-27

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - Updated: 9:59 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- The Canajoharie-Fort Plain Summer Drama Club will present "Bye, Bye Birdie", a classic musical comedy, on Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26 at 7 p.m., with a Sunday, July 27 matinee at 3 p.m. 

The performances will be held in the Arkell Performing Arts Center at the Canajoharie High School. Tickets are $6 general admission, $4 for students and seniors citizens, and children under 4 are free.

Bye, Bye Birdie -- employing an all-ages, 56-member cast and crew -- is a collaborative directorial effort between Mark Davidson, 9-year club member Ashley Broady and Norma Bowley, who will also provide musical direction and accompaniment.

Broady, who starred in numerous Canajoharie-Fort Plain Drama Club productions before returning from college to assist with the direction of "Beauty and the Beast", said that the club's summer shows are made possible with assistance from many individuals, including community members and cast family and friends.

Jeff Tyrrell acts as choreographer, and longtime club member Melissa Bowley, who starred in tons of shows while in high school, including Beauty and the Beast, acts as stage manager.

Broady noted that the school's high school technology teacher Dwayne Heroth also provided immeasurable help building the sets, along with assistance from cast families, who also designed and created the costumes.

"These kind, kind people were very helpful," Broady said, explaining that Bye, Bye Birdie is a true community production, even down to the funding, as the club's summer shows are put on thanks to donors, ticket sales and fundraising efforts. Thanks to the community's generosity, the club was even able to acquire six headset microphones, which lead actors will use during this weekend's run of performances. "We really want everybody to hear every single word of the show," said Broady.

She continued of the collaborative effort, "It's amazing to see how this community comes together to do something like this." Having been a part of the club for so long, she said it's also exciting "to see new faces."

The actors, she stated, have been incredibly generous throughout this production. "They're not in it only for themselves," she noted, explaining, "It's amazing seeing the whole cast pulling together and helping each other, and the same with the crew," who receive a moment in the spotlight during this production, as they're on stage moving scenery during the show's climax, which takes place in the Ed Sullivan theater.

The large cast and crew of this production have only had about four weeks to rehearse in the school's Arkell Auditorium, as the theater was basically off limits throughout the end of the school year, booked for graduation and awards ceremonies.

"There are really dedicated kids that come to every rehearsal," said Broady, pointing out, "It's great to see how hard these kids work in such a short period of time to put on such a fun show."

Bye, Bye Birdie, written by Mike Stewart, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams, was selected by Bowley and Davidson because it provides reliably great family entertainment. And, because it takes place in the 1950s, the show contains references that adults will recognize, but that teenagers might not, which makes for a fun dichotomy amongst audience members.

In the story, which was inspired by Elvis Presley’s Army draft notice in 1957, agent and songwriter Albert Peterson finds himself in trouble when rock-and-roll superstar Conrad Birdie is drafted.

Albert's secretary and sweetheart, Rosie Alvarez, comes up with a last-ditch publicity stunt -- to have Conrad Birdie perform a song "One Last Kiss" and give one lucky girl from his fan club a real "last kiss" on the infamous Ed Sullivan Show before leaving for the Army.

Randomly chosen from Conrad's fan club is fifteen-year-old Kim MacAfee, from Sweet Apple, Ohio, causing trouble with Kim’s boyfriend and family.

"The kids have worked so hard -- we all have worked so hard to get this show up and going and I think people will be really impressed with what we've been able to do," Broady concluded.

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Bye, Bye Birdie 2014
     

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