Southeast Music Department Presents: Bye Bye Birdie


Ali Richardson, Reporter

On Thursday, November 10th and Saturday, November 12th, the SES Music Department performed Bye Bye Birdie under the direction of Mrs. Keri Boley.
The musical is set in 1960 in Sweet Apple, Ohio and follows the story of Albert Peterson (Senior, Matthew Reden) and Rosie Alvarez (Senior, Ashlynd Merrill). Albert and Rosie both work for the most famous rockstar of the time, Conrad Birdie (Junior, Alex Christensen).
Although they have worked for Conrad for eight years, Albert has always wanted to become an English teacher, and Rosie has always wanted to spend her life with Albert, but only if he’s a teacher. When Conrad gets drafted into the war, it’s the perfect chance for both Albert and Rosie to start their new dream lives together.
Before Conrad is sent off to the war, Albert must write his last song, titled “One Last Kiss,” and find a young girl for Conrad to kiss goodbye at the train station. This lucky girl is Kim McAfee (Senior, Kyler Boley). Kim has been a faithful member of the girl scouts that have worshiped Conrad for years, but she is troubled with the idea of kissing him because she is going steady with a boy in her class named Hugo Peabody (Junior, Greyson McVay). Hugo is anything but pleased with the idea of Conrad kissing his girl, and he plots to stop it from happening. On the night Conrad is supposed to kiss Kim and be sent off to war, Hugo storms in and punches Conrad, preventing the kiss.
Meanwhile, Albert is having trouble telling his mother, Mae Peterson (Junior, Mara Mondt), that he wants to quit his job, become a teacher, and spend the rest of his life with Rosie; all of which are things his mother will not approve of. The longer Albert takes to tell Mae about the new changes in his life, the more frustrated Rosie gets with him. Eventually, Rosie quits her job with Albert, and she gives up on her dream of one day becoming Mrs. Peterson.
Without Rosie to help him, Albert struggles to deal with Conrad, who has become bitter after he was humiliated at the train station. Conrad, trying to get away, runs off with Kim and the other girl scouts. While they are hiding out, the girls, along with Conrad, are hunted down by Kim’s furious father, Harry McAfee (Junior, Haley Thiel).
The play concludes with Conrad feeling happy that he was able to get away from Mr. McAfee and the young crazy girls scouts, being sent off to the war, Kim and Hugo getting engaged, and Albert and Rosie making up after Albert finally breaking the news to his mother. Albert and Rosie then move to Iowa, where Albert becomes Mr. Peterson, the English teacher, and Rosie finally gets to be Mrs. Peterson.
With several kids being out sick over the weeks leading up to the musical, many roles were shifted, including the lead role of Rosie. Senior, Ashlynd Merrill, who played Rosie, only had eight rehearsals leading up to the production. This also caused a ripple effect on the rest of the show, so additional small parts and solos also had to be taken on by other cast members. “The shifts in the cast were challenging,” said Mrs. Boley, “but it caused us to have extra focus, and it also made room for others to step up and become leaders in the chorus, and to take on speaking roles and solos.”
Overall, the hours of hard work and dedication that went into the production of Bye Bye Birdie were well worth it, and the musical came together nicely.