Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ on in YST’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

At Fremont Centre Theatre through Oct. 23 Theatre Review

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The 1960 Tony Award winning musical Bye Bye Birdie is rockin’ and rollin’ at Fremont Centre Theatre every weekend with opportunities to see both a traditional cast as well as an all youth cast and both are worth seeing. The show is a celebration of 1950’s teen culture as seen through the lens of the small town of Sweet Apple, Ohio. The story centers around rock star and teen heartthrob, Conrad Birdie, and his imminent induction into the army. Birdie is managed by Albert Peterson whose long suffering girlfriend and secretary, Rose, has an idea for a publicity stunt that will give Albert enough success to leave the business. They’ve concocted a plan whereby Conrad will travel to Sweet Apple where he will sing his new song, One Last Kiss, and deliver his final kiss to everyday teenager, Kim MacAfee, broadcast live on the Ed Sullivan Show. Obstacles abound by way of Albert’s meddling mother, Kim’s boyfriend and the parents of the teenagers who don’t like all this “livin” their teenagers start talking about!

The direction by Jack Bennett and musical direction by Gloria Bennett keep things bouncy and earnest through great songs like “Got A Lot of Livin’ To Do”, “Put on a Happy Face” and “Kids”. The charming cast deftly move through each kicky dance number choreographed by Mirai Booth-Ong who also plays a darling Mom to Tony Prichard’s hilarious turn as Kim’s about to blow a gasket Dad. Kurt Koehler’s smooth vocals make for a loveable Albert to Tara Cox’s dynamic and sassy Rose. Stacy Toyon is spot on as the ultimate helicopter mom to Albert and nemesis to Rose. Birdie is played with all out rock n’ roll swagger by the charismatic Matthew Golden while Liam Walker and Clara Daly are darling as the teenagers in love. Not to be missed is the magnetic performance of Matias Geiberger as Birdie in the youth cast along with YST favorites Eadan Franklynn as Rose, Delilah March as Kim and Aidan Martin as Albert. Special mention to Chloe Lesieur and Araceli Prasarttongosoth who may be small but they are mighty and irresistible as Kim’s little brother.

The rest of the casts are rounded out delightfully by Sophia Kavcioglu, Shaina Hammer, Stephanie Harvey, Levi Srebalus, Gabriel Bomfiglio, Jaaziah McZeal, Elliot Scott, Jasmine M-E, Meera Sinroja, Candence Cole, Idalis McZeal, Melody Cole, Christina Amber, Ryan Baumann, Mikey Tua, Arielle Bianca, Jack Wisinski, Lauren Martin, Emily Mae Kamp, Yazlynn Isaza, Jacqueline Eubank, Jadon Valdez, Landyn Rosemond, Aubriel Valdez, Alyssa Prachasaisoradej & J’Quinn McKenna.

Young Stars Theatre is a non-profit youth theatre company whose mission is to bring the experience of being on stage to all young people who wish to explore the magic of theatre. For tickets and information www.YoungStarsTheatre.org Fri and Sat 7 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. 1000 Fremont Ave. Ample free parking behind the theatre.

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