The historic Akron Civic Theatre is the venue for this year’s All-City Musical, “Bye Bye Birdie,” featuring a cast of more than 70 players from area schools.
The musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” written by Michael Stewart, with lyrics by Lee Adams and music by Charles Strouse, first played on Broadway in 1960. Inspired by the popular culture of the time, the story concerns events following the draft notice of teen idol Conrad Birdie. Birdie’s agent Albert Peterson deftly plans to turn the bad news into a major publicity stunt by having Birdie receive a send-off kiss on the Ed Sullivan show from a randomly chosen fan.
Birdie is played by 17 year-old Brandon Henderson of Woodridge High School, who has the charm and gyrations to match the Elvis-inspired character. Other characters include coming-of-age teenager Kim MacAfee (Michaella Waickman of Firestone), Kim’s nervous father Harry MacAfee (Gabe Reed of Wadsworth), put-upon secretary and dancer Rose Alvarez (Hallie Heffernen of Copley) and Birdie’s agent and songwriter Albert Peterson (Brandon Kline of Firestone).
“Bye Bye Birdie” features a large cast, extensive dance numbers and songs, and comic dialogue. Choreographer Marissa Montigney takes the cast through several high-energy dances and the soloists through some campy ones as well. Mark Zimmerman is the director with musical direction by Barbara Bellamy. Elynmarie Kazle is production manager.
Akron Civic Theatre’s Executive Director Howard Parr said he is thrilled the All-City Musical is returning for a third year. “It’s amazing to see what such a large and diverse group of young people are able to do when they get the chance to work with a professional artistic team and venue.”
Shows are scheduled for Saturday, June 14, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday June 15 at 2:30 p.m. The Civic Theatre Box Office is located across the street from the Theatre on the first floor of the Ohio Building. Tickets may be purchased in person or by calling (330) 253-2488.