Before Birdie Went Bye Bye
AHS Cast Rocks ‘n Rolls
By LAUREN SNYDER, DELILAH CRUM and JANEL LILLY
Red and Blue Staff Writers
PHOTOS BY WILL BOEHM and TERESA WOERTHER
“Bye Bye Birdie,” this year’s AHS Music Dept. production, is a tale of music, love, and some major fangirls, with a dash of jealousy mixed in.
Inspired by Elvis Presley being drafted into the Army, and his rivalry with Conway Twitty, the story is set in 1958. On a set built by members of the Construction Trades class, AHS performers sported the bobby socks and buttoned-down collars of the period.
When rock ‘n roll heartthrob Conrad Birdie (Marcus Davis) gets drafted into the Army, his producer Albert Peterson (Howard Frazier) and secretary Rosie Alvarez (Phoebe Jackson) make the decision to have Birdie record “One Last Kiss” before he goes overseas.
Birdie is going to give that kiss to a girl chosen randomly from one of his fan clubs across the country. The lucky girl is 15-year-old Kim McAfee (Natalie Dubaj) from Sweet Apple, Ohio.
Her mother (Vanessa West) is all for it, but her father (Jake Shields), doesn’t like it a bit. Neither does Kim’s steady boyfriend, Hugo Peabody (Tommy Gress). Just as Conrad finishes singing the song on national television, Hugo runs onstage and punches Conrad before he can kiss Kim.
Meanwhile there’s drama between Rosie and Albert, especially when Albert’s mother (Kiera Hairston) tries to set Albert up with a hotter-looking secretary (Aryah Buckmon.) In an act of rebellion, Kim runs off with Conrad. As a result, Conrad lands in jail.
Other characters are Ursula Merkle (Rachael Wagner), the Mayor (Will Boehm), Mrs. Merkle (Lori Simmons), Mr. Johnson (Stefan Thalacker), Alice (Teresa Woerther), Margie (Marian Davidson), Harvey Johnson (DeSean Hollins), Suzie (Madalyn Sibble), Alice (Teresa Woerther), Penelope Ann (Madison Sams), and Randolph McAfee (Tyler Rasile-Smith).
Also in the chorus was Katie Blake, Aquasia Board, Addy Cade, Rose Hansen, Mia Holt, Katie Howell, Gus Jackson, Raquel Johns, Cali Parmenter, Madison Puckett, Rylee Russo, Liam Sams and Devin Thompson.
“I think my favorite part was watching it all come together and seeing them for the first time in front of an audience,” Director Carrie Chunat said of her performers. “The expressions on their faces gets bigger, their singing gets clearer and the presence of the audience takes them over the top.”
“It was a pretty large cast and more than half of them have never been on a show before,” Mrs. Chunat added. “It was exciting to see that new potential, and I'm really proud of how far they've come.”
“It really became a family by the end,” said sophomore Kiera Hairston. “This musical was such an amazing experience and definitely made me want to come back for more.”
“I always enjoy doing plays, but this one was really special to me,” said junior Phoebe Jackson. “I thought everyone had the perfect role, and everyone had great stage chemistry.”
Rachael Wagner, a sophomore, said: “It was an absolutely great production and it was even better with the amazing cast!”