You’ve bought your Red Vines and chocolate chip cookies and saunter into the dimly lit Franklin auditorium. Scanning the crowd you find your friends, a jacket safely securing your spot in the seventh row, just high enough to see the light from the orchestra pit. The lights fade to darkness and the crowd hushes to silence as you scoot past the families silencing their cellphones. “…and please enjoy Bye Bye Birdie!” the student announcer says before quickly running off stage. You land in your seat as the pit bursts out in tune, welcoming everyone to the show and taking the night by the reins.
Originally titled Let’s Go Steady, the hit musical Bye Bye Birdie is coming to Franklin High School this March! Come support the Franklin Arts Department for an exhilarating, live student performance. Have a great night, bring a friend, but most importantly be awed by the talent and commitment put in by every student involved. “For the same reason people might play sports, or be in student government, theater is a great place to have a community,” says Lucy Walker (12), who has been in the musical all four years of high school. “The biggest change came with the new theater, there was more pressure to produce a good show.” The production quality upped with the building remodel which brought a higher level of professionalism. There are also many teachers that have put in so much work and time to accomplish this show including: Karen Bohart (choir), Jason Owens (music), Sonia Warfel (dance), and Josh Forsythe (drama). “It might be one of the last times I do something in this area of work. Most [colleges] don’t offer a musical theater program as an extracurricular,” says Walker. “As for being a senior, it’s not about me; I want the department to continue to exist and be there for people when I’m gone.”
Set in 1958, the story was inspired by the phenomenon of popular singer Elvis Presley and his draft notice into the Army. The rock star character’s name, “Conrad Birdie,” is word play on the name of Conway Twitty. Twitty is best remembered today for his long career as a country music star, but in the late 1950s, he was one of Presley’s rock ‘n’ roll rivals. When Conrad Birdie (Jonas Boone, 12) is picked to be drafted into the army, his fans are devastated, but no one more than struggling music producer Albert Peterson (Oliver McFadden, 12), Conrad was his main client! Albert figures he can still get rich and marry his girlfriend, Rosie DeLeon (Lucinda Drake, 12), when he gets Conrad on the Ed Sullivan show to kiss a lucky, contest-winning fan. That fan is Kim McAfee (Lucy Walker, 12), who will be serenaded by Conrad singing “One Last Kiss,” a song yet to be written by Albert. Find out if Albert makes it big in the little town of Sweet Apple, Ohio this spring!
Mark the calendar for March 8 because you won’t want to miss opening night! That’s a Friday evening show, followed by one the next night, March 9. There is one matinee performance that weekend’s Sunday, March 10, at 2pm so make sure to be there if evening shows aren’t fitting into your schedule. The final three performances start the following week on Thursday, March 14, going on to Friday, March 15, and closing out on Saturday, March 16. All performances will be in the evening at 7pm, save the one Sunday matinee at 2pm, in the Franklin auditorium located on the corner of SE 52nd & Woodward. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for seniors and students, available online at the FHS website and at the door. Enjoy!