‘Bye Bye Birdie’ opens Nov. 1


Hailey Schwobe

Junior Sophie Brandt rehearses her part in the song ‘One Boy’ on the Engler Center stage.

Shianne Berger

This fall the CHS Drama Department is producing “Bye Bye Birdie” with shows Thursday, November 1, through Saturday, November 3, all at 7:00 p.m.

“‘Bye Bye Birdie’ is such a great show for all ages to see. It has humor that will please children, teens and adults alike,” said freshman Cambria Deehr, a cast member. “I think that audiences can expect an energetic performance by all the cast members as well as many fun songs and dances to go along with it.”

“Bye Bye Birdie” is set in 1958, and is based on the story of Elvis Presley and his draft into the army. In the musical, Conrad Birdie is the teen idol and rock and roll star. Kim MacAfee is a teenage girl who is in charge of the Conrad Birdie Fan Club and is chosen to receive Birdie’s last kiss before he goes off to war. Then there’s Kim’s jealous boyfriend, Hugo Peabody.

There is also the love story between Albert Peterson, a poet and English teacher who wrote Birdie’s latest song, and Rose Alvarez, Albert’s secretary who is not liked by his mother.

Ms. Michelle Kochan, the middle and high school band teacher, is co- directing the musical with Ms. Amy Smejkal, the middle and high school choir teacher.

“The cast, crew and pit (band) are made up of about 50 different students from freshmen to seniors,” Ms. Kochan said. “You’ll have to come to the show to see who plays what part, and we have some special guests, too.” The co-directors carefully selected this production and view its long list of characters as a positive.

“‘Bye Bye Birdie’ is a really fun, high-energy show, and it also provides a lot of opportunity for students to have solos, speaking lines and play multiple roles,” Ms. Smejkal said. “Many times in a show there are maybe eight or so characters with names and lines, and the chorus has three or four big numbers, but ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ has 20 named characters and so many opportunities for the whole cast. We thought this show was a great way to highlight all of our awesome talent at CHS.”

In addition to the cast and stage crew, there is a pit band that will be playing all the music performed in the show. “Pit band is a small ensemble made up of approximately 10 students and a few adults,” Ms. Kochan said. “For the high school musical, we usually use a pit band because the music is playable for high school students, unlike the middle school or elementary school musicals. It’s also a really fun way to be involved in the show and an opportunity to play some tough music and challenge yourself.”

The cast, stage crew and pit band have been working hard on the show since September, and opening night is now a week away.

“There is a lot of work that goes into putting on a high school production, and our students and production team are doing a great job,” Ms. Smejkal said. “There are hours and hours of planning and work that go into casting, designing a set, lighting, building and construction, choreography, blocking and learning the music for the cast and pit orchestra. All of us coming together to create something is what makes it so rewarding.”

Tickets can be purchased at the door or at EnglerCenter.com.