Review: The kids steal the show in Stagemasters 'Bye Bye Birdie'
Kids! What's the matter with kids today? Nothing, at least not those in the Stagemasters production of “Bye Bye Birdie” last weekend at the Grand Theatre in Elizabeth.
Set in the late 1950s, “Bye Bye Birdie” centers around aspiring songwriter Albert Peterson. He is convinced he can make his fortune and marry his girlfriend, Rosie, if he can get rock 'n' roll star Conrad Birdie on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and have him kiss a high-school girl goodbye before he reports for military service.
Albert and Rosie choose Kim MacAfee, a member of the Conrad Birdie fan club from Sweet Apple, Ohio, and her family to go on the Sullivan show. Kim will be Conrad's goodbye kiss.
Rosie sabotages the TV appearance to get back at Albert and his mother, and chaos ensues.
Everything works out in the end, but not before shenanigans and a few dance numbers occur.
Director Lorraine Mszanski and her cast put on phenomenal performances of “Telephone Hour” and “Normal American Boy.”
The actors in the MacAfee family definitely stole the show. Baldwin junior Julie Lang, who played Kim, showcased wonderful vocal talent. Her high notes were crisp and clear. South Park senior Emily Cygrymus and Serra Catholic sophomore Joey Coccia, who played Mrs. MacAfee and Randolph, were entertaining to watch. The audience responded with hearty laughter to their mannerisms and facial expressions.
Elizabeth Forward senior Gavin Carnahan, who played Mr. MacAfee, was a complete performer. Every time he stepped onstage, the audience was in for a treat. Whether it was his amusing way of delivering lines, his comic facial expressions or his relaxed and pleasant singing voice, the audience reacted positively and enthusiastically to his performance.
South Park freshmen Carly Cygrymus and Samantha Hawk and Elizabeth Forward freshman Amy Hotovchin — who played Penelope, Suzy and Margie, respectively — displayed perfect harmonies while singing the “Conrad Birdie Song.” They were also believable in their roles of teenage girls infatuated with the celebrity heartthrob.
Grand Theatre veteran Zachary Mendola and recent South Park graduate Alexis Hawk showcased their vocal talents in the roles of Albert Peterson and Rosie. Mendola's peak moment in came with the final notes of the song “Talk to Me.” He hit an unbelievably high note in falsetto with little effort, which received a great response from the audience.
Hawk did a wonderful job pulling off the complicated role of Rosie. She easily made the transition from stuffy secretary to angry, betrayed girlfriend to sultry “Spanish Rose” — never missing a beat. Her vocal pinnacle came during “What Did I Ever See in Him,” which Hawk delivered with believable anger and passion. Her dancing was also entertaining, as she pulled off the difficult “Shriner's Ballet” number on a small stage.
Matthew Rokicki, a South Park junior, channeled his inner Elvis for the role of Conrad Birdie. Rokicki's voice was good, but his attitude was better, and his performance radiated “cool.”
Finally, Tyler Prah, a senior at Elizabeth Forward, portrayed a wonderful Hugo Peabody, Kim's steady boyfriend. Prah embraced the quirkiness of the role and expertly delivered his lines, all without a microphone. His voice projected easily throughout the medium-sized theater without the aid of technology.
The cast also performed “Family” from the musical “Dreamgirls,” a tradition at all Petite Player and Stagemasters shows since 2008, after curtain call. The moving number showed the true unity of the cast and was the perfect end to a great show.
Christy Walters is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Legislators receive committee assignments
- LifeSpan opens fitness center in McKeesport
- West Mifflin Area sues Martell over continuing education credit costs
- South Allegheny school board makes personnel moves
- Local Catholic Schools Week celebrations include fun activities, community service
- Use of police body cameras increases; Whitaker explores purchase
- Homestead business owner recalls similar fire 26 years ago
- Southbound Mifflin Road in near West Mifflin closes as sewer work begins
- Munhall repeals its lost or stolen gun ordinance
- Groups to offer help with health insurance sign-ups in Mon Valley
- West Mifflin Area board approves contracts with teachers union, business manager