Fall musical “Bye Bye Birdie” closes with success

Photo+by+Bailey+Blackburn.+

Photo by Bailey Blackburn.

Nora Crutcher-McGowan

The annual fall musical hit the stage Thursday, Nov. 11, and proceeded with three more performances on Friday, Saturday and a matinee Sunday. This year’s production, “Bye Bye Birdie,” followed a 1950s Elvis Presley-inspired rock singer named Conrad Birdie (played by senior Will Andrews) who is drafted into the war, much to the despair of his ever-adoring fans. A struggling songwriter by the name of Albert Peterson (played by senior Aidan Ryan) petitions alongside his loyal and tired secretary/girlfriend, Rosie (played by senior Elsa Kelley-Marcum), to pin his song for Conrad’s last performance before he goes off to war. 

RBHS theater teacher, Sandy Welty, said the musical ultimately went “fantastic,” with a few minor hurdles in the beginning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as deciding whether to live-stream the musical or not. Welty gave acting notes during rehearsals, then took on a stage management position when the show opened. 

“It was a rough start, because we’re in the re-build years, [and] we had lots of new people,” Welty said. “We had less time to get prepared due to contracts and things that took a while to get because the theater industry is a little behind.” 

Junior Addison Spiller, who played Mrs. MacAfee, the mother of Kim MacAfeethe girl who is chosen as Conrad Birdie’s last kiss before he goes off to wardescribed her character in context of the musical’s time period as a “typical ‘50s American housewife,” and said her experience in the production was positive. 

“This is my first big role in a musical,” Spiller said. “I’ve been [in the] chorus the past few years, so it’s cool to have lines and be in some musical numbers.” 

“Bye Bye Birdie” was Ryan’s last musical at RBHS as a senior, and he said he will miss the friendships he made over the last four years.  

“I’m excited to move on with my life and this transition,” Ryan said. “I’m happy to embrace the transition that’s coming. But yeah, of course, I’m a little sad. I’m going to miss this department. Mrs. Welty and Mr. [Mike] Pierson have done a really good job of making sure that they put all of their passion and energy into the shows, and they’ve been really fun.” 

Welty recognized all students who made the production possible, and remarked on their tenacity to learn new things.  

“Our students worked so hard and their dedication to their arts just showed through all the way, with their singing and their set design and their moving and their crew,” Welty said. “We had a student on the sound board, we had students on the light board, we had students on the calls… students everywhere [were] learning new things and most of them [had] their first experience at a high school level, which was fantastic.”

Did you see “Bye Bye Birdie”? Let us know in the comments below.