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Mazenod College Musical - Bye Bye Birdie

5 July 2011

This year’s musical is one of those award-winning classic American musical and is a musical very suited to secondary students as many are playing teenagers. Bye Bye Birdie is an old-fashioned ‘musical comedy’ with equal emphasis on the music and the comedy. It is a satire - it uses wit as a weapon to ridicule social aspects of American society. It pokes fun at rock stars, their behaviour, their managers, their entourage and their fans. It is set in America in the 1960s and the story was inspired by the most popular singer of that time, Elvis Presley, who despite his talent and his fame received a draft notice into the Army like any other American teenager could. Our rock star, Conrad Birdie has been drafted to the army. As a farewell, he is scheduled to sing his manager’s song One Last Kiss and kiss to a teenage fan from Sweet Apple, Ohio live on the famous Ed Sullivan TV Show. It nearly happens despite opposition from many sources but somewhere the story gets complicated by a conniving secretary, a jealous boy-friend and a domineering mother.
Bye Bye Birdie was written during the craze that was Rock’n’Roll and was first performed on Broadway in 1960 and ran for 607 performances (not a musical phenomenon like some but was voted Best Musical in 1961). It was a first Broadway musical for Charles Strouse (music), Lee Adams (lyrics), Michael Stewart (bookwriter) and Gower Champion (director, choreographer) and not their last. Some of their successes include Carnival!, Hello Dolly, Annie, 42nd Street. Dick Van Dyke (of Mary Poppins fame) was in the original Broadway cast and in the Columbia Pictures movie made in 1963 with Janet Leigh, Bobby Rydell and Ann-Margaret.
This musical contains an interesting mix of entertaining music, good songs, some colourful characters, good dance routines, lively dialogue and intriguingly comic situations. Overall it is an entertaining musical made for everyone to enjoy. It is funny, energetic and it is a great spectacle where students get great opportunities to discover and display their talents. We hope you might come along and enjoy the fun. It will be presented at Alexander Theatre Monash on August 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th starting a 8 pm. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased from the College or please call 8561 1108 to reserve your tickets.

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