North Central College’s Summer Music Theatre presents the rock ‘n’ roll-era musical “Bye Bye Birdie” in August and features actors from the community.
Six performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1-2, 8-9 and at 2 p.m. Aug. 3 and 10 in North Central’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave. Tickets are $18/adults and $12/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.
The original Broadway production of “Bye Bye Birdie” was a Tony Award-winning hit. Based on the hysteria of Elvis Presley and his draft notice into the army in 1957, the satire follows the story of rock star Conrad Birdie as he is drafted. Conrad has decided to bestow one last kiss on a lucky fan from Sweetapple, Ohio, before going off into the service. “Bye Bye Birdie” was written by Michael Stewart, with lyrics by Lee Adams and music by Charles Strouse.
“Bye Bye Birdie” is directed by North Central’s Susan Craig-Olsen, lecturer of theatre, who previously presented “The Wizard of Oz,” “Hello, Dolly!” and other North Central community musicals. Ross Berkley, a 2005 graduate of North Central in choral music education, gives musical direction.
“I think there’s a part of everyone who wants to escape into a simpler time, before cell phones, cable TV and the Kardashians,” says Craig-Olsen. “‘Bye Bye Birdie’ is a glimpse into a more innocent world, real or not! It has catchy tunes, fun choreography and very likeable characters. It’s simply a night of family fun.”
Craig-Olsen says her goal is to approach the show honestly, to capture its joyful spirit and not make fun of it. “We’re going to embrace this together as a cast and have a wonderful time doing it. And I hope the audience gets as carried away with it as we do!”
The cast of “Bye Bye Birdie” includes students from a number of colleges and conservatories, voice teachers, early career professional performers and musical enthusiasts from all walks of life.
The cast of principal roles (some are double cast) for “Bye Bye Birdie” includes (part: name):
Rosie: Becky Messerschmidt of Glen Ellyn, Kathy Musselman of Woodridge
Albert: Chad Olsen of Naperville, Michael Sillar of Plainfield
Conrad: Chris Oechsel of Naperville
Kim: Audrey Hare of Aurora
Hugo: Jeremy Cifonie of Naperville
Ursula: Maggie Maloney of Downers Grove
Mrs. Peterson: Jane Warfel of Naperville
Alice: Rebecca Lies of Naperville
Deborah Sue: Taylor Oechsel of Naperville
Margie: Carly Randolph of Naperville
Phyllis: Katie Paulsen of Wheaton
Mrs. Macafee: Jen Prerost of Naperville
Mr. Macafee: Chris Oechsel of Naperville
Gloria: Chelsea Ward of Naperville
Mr. Johnson: Keith Carlson of Naperville
Randolph: Justin Lee of Bolingbrook
Mayor: Tom Paulsen of Wheaton
Mayor’s Wife: Jenny Okarma of Yorkville
Reporter 1: Sean Mohler of Machesney Park
Reporter 2: Eric Kopicki of Burr Ridge