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Woodbury Community Theatre’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie” opens Friday at the Loft Stage. The show tells the story of a rock ‘n’ roll singer who is about to be drafted into the army. (Submitted photo)

Woodbury Community Theatre's 'Birdie' takes flight Friday

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Woodbury Community Theatre will be waving “bye bye” to Birdie this weekend.

WCT’s summer musical, “Bye Bye Birdie,” will open Friday at the Loft Stage.

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The play, written in 1960, tells the story of rock ‘n’ roll superstar Conrad Birdie, who gets drafted into the army, devastating his female fans. After hearing of Birdie’s draft, struggling songwriter and biochemist Albert, and his fiancé Rosie, devise a plan to have Birdie sing one of Albert’s songs on the Ed Sullivan Show and kiss a girl, as his farewell to all of his female fans. Elsewhere, Kim, of Apple, Ohio, is the lucky girl to be kissed by Birdie. The rest of the play revolves around everyone heading to Ohio and the lead-up to the “Ed Sullivan Show” performance.

“It’s satire of Elvis Presley and about the idols of the time,” director Lenore Weir said. “It’s also about that conflict between adults and teenagers and those dynamics.

“It’s a lot deeper than I originally thought – it’s not just fluff – there’s a lot more to it.”

Weir said she and the other WCT directors got together earlier in the year to lay out what shows they wanted to do this theater season.

“When you look at a season, you’re not just looking at what show you want to do,” she said. “You have to look at things that would balance the season.”

“Bye Bye Birdie” came into the picture because of the availability of teenagers during the summer.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for a really strong teenage show where they get to be on stage this much,” she said. “So, we wanted something during the summer since that’s when they’re free to do it.”

The cast features roughly 25 teenagers and 12 adults.

“With four exceptions the main characters are all teens,” Weir said. “I can hardly wait to see the energy in these kids because they’re incredible.”

When it comes to working with teenagers, Weir said it’s surprisingly easy since they are very capable and take direction well.

“It’s a lot more fun than working with just adults and it’s much easier than working with children,” she said. “The teens are so directable, experienced and they just have a feel for it.”

Weir said “Bye Bye Birdie” audiences can expect some great singing and dance numbers.

Some of the classic songs featured in “Bye Bye Birdie” include: “An English Teacher,” “What Did I Ever See in Him?” “Put on a Happy Face,” “One Boy,” “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” “Kids,” “Rosie” and “Spanish Rose.”

Weir said audiences can also expect a lot of fun at “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“It’s a fun, happy, joyful and cheerful show,” she said. “How could you not like it?”

Woodbury Community Theatre’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie” will run July 25-26 and Aug. 1-2 at 7 p.m. and July 27 and Aug. 3 at 3 p.m. at the Loft Stage at East Ridge High School. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $12 for students. Children 4 years old and under and active military families are free. Tickets can be purchased online at www.woodburycommunitytheatre.org.

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
(651) 702-0976
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