SCP to present ‘Bye, Bye, Birdie’ on 8/11-14

Seneca Community Players presents “Bye Bye Birdie,” one of the most captivating musicals of our time, at 8 p.m., Aug. 11, 12, and 13, and at 2 p.m., Aug. 14 in the Delavan Theatre on the New York Chiropractic College campus, 2360 Rte. 89 in Seneca Falls. It revolves around the hysteria created when an Elvis-like character is drafted into the U.S. Army and his managers decide to stage a publicity stunt that involves kissing one of his admirers.Director Barbara Murphy and Music Director Steve Gamba have come from many years of working with the Auburn Players Community Theatre to bring together 40 singers and dancers from throughout the Finger Lakes region. The cast, which ranges from elementary school students to senior citizens, has eagerly tackled such beloved musical theatre favorites as “Put on a Happy Face,” “Got a Lot of Livin’ To Do”, and “Kids.” Award-winning choreographer April Bush, states that she is thrilled to be working with SCP for the first time after having worked with area dancers for over 15 years.Loosely based on the furor which spread across the country following the 1958 announcement that Elvis Presley had been drafted into the Army, “Bye Bye Birdie” was the first Broadway musical written expressly about teenagers, and, at the insistence of director Gower Champion, actually used “real teenagers” and not seasoned Broadway performers in its cast. The show opened April 14, 1960, and ran for 607 performances. It was the first big hit for songwriters Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, and librettist Michael Stewart. Dick Van Dyke repeated his role in the 1963 screen version which also starred Ann-Margret.When the draft notice for rock-and-roll star Conrad Birdie threatens his manager Albert Peterson with personal bankruptcy, Albert’s secretary and fiance, Rose comes up with a plan to have Conrad bestow one last kiss on a randomly chosen fan on the Ed Sullivan Show.Cast in the leading roles of Albert and Rose are Steve Gamba and Sara Fraher. Both have performed extensively with the Auburn Players. Gamba, a music teacher, most recently was seen in the Players’ production of “Candide” in the title role. Fraher, a junior at SUNY Geneseo, had leading roles in Auburn High School’s productions of “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Footloose.”Cast in the title role is Romulus Central senior Daniel Rivera, who has been seen in a number of their musicals including “Pippin” and “Guys and Dolls.” The MacAfee family, who are thrown into chaos by the celebrity’s arrival and the selection of their daughter, Kim, to receive Conrad’s last kiss, are played by Jeff Hauf and Jonah Hauf of Seneca Falls, Lorraine Fraher of Auburn, and Meghan Palmer of Victor.Barbara Murphy notes that the show includes one of her all-time favorite Broadway roles: the part of Albert’s mother, Mae Peterson. “She is the quintessential over-bearing, long-suffering, dramatic mother,” Murphy said, “One of the best character parts ever written for a musical.” Marcia Burdick of Seneca Falls plays the part.Other supporting roles include Paul Noga as Kim’s boyfriend Hugo, Kimberly Pantoliano as Gloria Rasputin, John King as Maude the bartender, Seth Kennedy and Michaela Oney as the Mayor and his wife, and Brianna Wickard as Kim’s friend Ursula Merkle. Tom Hoey makes a cameo appearance as Ed Sullivan.Chorus members include Lillian Boberg, Amy Bubb, Ashley Bubb, Rachael Burdick, Danielle Clark, Erich D’Eredita, Sam Egan, Sarah Fredendall, Elisa Ganzon, Abby Hauf, Carol Hauf, Samantha Hockey, Roy Jacob, Michael Jansen, Kathy Kirkland, Debbie Koch, Jason Parker, Marisa Rivera, Alexi Smith, Linda Urbach, Jordan Wickard and Miranda Zammett.A satire done with the fondest affection, “Bye Bye Birdie” is produced locally by Marcia Burdick with assistance from Susan Sinicropi. Kathy Hadley is responsible for hair and make-up with help from Carol Millis. The sound and lighting operators are Denise Junker and Bob Bittner. Carrie Massey is the stage manager, and the head of house is Lynn Patti.Eric Jansen serves as technical director and master carpenter, while Dan Papperman is the production’s electrician. Jane Roberts is the costumer with help from Jean Roberts, Ashley Leonello, Char Lind, Lynn Patti, and Margaret Baum. Donna Russell is the production assistant, and Bella Baxter is the property manager. Sarah Fredendall steps up as dance captain.Publicity and posters were by Kevin Schoonover and Becky Bly, and K.C. Mooneyhan designed the programs and tickets.Tickets are $10 (student) and $13 (general admission) in advance; $12 and $15 at the door. They may be purchased from cast members, at WomanMade Products in Seneca Falls, Area Records and Music in Geneva, and by calling 315-568-9364.This production is made possible, in part, with a grant from The Delavan Foundation.Seneca Meadows Landfill, BonaDent Dental Laboratories, and Finger Lakes 1 are SCP’s 2011 season sponsors.

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