“Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face.” So goes the most famed song from 1958’s multi-Tony Award winning Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie. It steps forward again, produced by Circle Theatre. This time in the Young Performers Edition, a specially tailored version to feature elementary school and middle school-aged kids.
Make sense, huh? ‘Cause the show is about kids, teen-agers in fact, and how they encounter pop singer heart throb Conrad Birdie, something of a young ‘un himself. Birdie comes to a small town as a publicity stunt engineered by his agent Albert Peterson. Local girl Kim MacAfee is chosen to be Conrad’s date and that doesn’t sit well with her boyfriend Hugo. Kim’s Dad is put off by Conrad too.
Michael Stewart, many times a Tony nominee, wrote the book inspired by an important event from the year before: Elvis being drafted. The songs, though, are mostly not Elvis-like rock. They’re by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams who’ve written a lot of successful Broadway shows and got a Tony for this one. Strouse, BTW, wrote the music for another kid-focused hit, Annie. Got a Tony for that too.
This production is directed by Fran Sillau and the music director is The Rose Theater’s Jerry Brabec.
When you go you could be watching and listening to the stars of tomorrow.
Bye Bye Birdie runs Oct.19-Nov.4, Hanscom Park United Methodist Church, 4444 Frances St. Fri. & Sat: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $12-$15. http://www.circletheatreomaha.org