Review by Tina Gaisin
Steppin’ Out Theatrical Productions is presenting” BYE BYE, BIRDIE”, the 1960 musical-take on Presley & the Viet-Nam Draft. Last night was the opening… as with all of the Steppin’ Out’s efforts, this reviewer was excited to see how and what would be their take on this production!
We were in for a treat, the audience was toe tapping and singing along! The play and hero’s original name was Conway Twitty without the creators realizing there is a singer with that name.
Thus the change to Conrad Birdie (a bit of wit and word play!) The book is by Michael Stewart, with lyrics by Lee Adams and music by Charles Strouse of Annie fame!
The overture sets the scene as the girls are screaming and a wire-service film reel shows all the girls going gaga circa 1957! The scene is the Almaelou Music Company in New York with ‘Albert Peterson’ and his assistant ‘Rosie Alvarez’. Rosie comes up with a way to raise money for Albert with Conrad [a.k.a. Presley] having a kiss with one of his many fans! N.Y. becomes Sweet Apple, Ohio and the transition from one place to another is truly amazing. The wit of the musical, the freshness, and the youthfulness was incredible. The attention to small details with the telephone hour scene with the beautiful colourful costumes in period poodle skirts and the telephones with the twisting cords was a great touch! Even Randolph playing with a slinky on the floor!
This is an outstanding presentation… the sets are from floor to ceiling and are exceptional! Everyone in this production was phenomenal – the lighting, the conductor, the orchestra and most especially the young cast and production crew! Bye Bye Birdie appears well-rehearsed and everyone complemented each other on stage. There were some outstanding singers that need mentioning. Rosie played by Beckie Saslove (was also the choreographer) has a beautiful singing voice with great modulation and her stage presence is amazing. Kudos to her for the great choreography! Albert, played by Andy Ingram is well-suited to his role; his stage presence is truly amazing and audiences will empathize with him torn between two women! Kim, portrayed by Amanda Silcoff, is a gem, possessing vocal talent & stage presence!!Conrad is interpreted by Khalil Roelcke who has all the moves and also manages to contribute witticism to his rendering… The show stopper was the hilarious “Mom”. Renee Stein, who the audience wants to hate, yet receives the biggest applause!! Her wit, humour and guilt that she instilled upon poor Albert is hilarious!
Special thanks to Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts who takes care of everyone in a beautiful location and the acoustics are great! This reviewer gives this play a huge 10 out of 10 and hopefully hasn’t spoilt the show for those of you who want to see it. It is great for all ages, and it is the best show that Steppin’ Out has done so far! March 2014 will bring us “Into the Woods”! This was a thoroughly enjoyable & fun evening.
BIRDIE runs until Nov. 24th.