All school musical comedy ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ brings laughs into the Ruby Zima Auditorium

Alexis Megdanoff, Writer

Friends and family of the Fenton Community gathered at FHS on March 27, 28, and 29 to watch students from all grades perform the 1958 musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” starring rock and roll star Conrad Birdie (Cord Alvarado), his manager Albert Peterson (Jack Kennings) and Peterson’s girlfriend Rosie Alverez (Emily Battaglia), as they deal with Conrad being drafted for the army and trying to stay afloat in the music biz.

“The funniest parts to me were Cord’s facial expressions,” senior Allyson Reish said. “I know Cord personally, so seeing his character, it fit him really well. It was funny to watch him and some of my other friends. They know how to play characters.”

The original musical was inspired by Elvis Presley being drafted for the U.S. army in 1957. A media frenzy suggested that he would give one lucky woman of the Women’s Army Corps ‘one last kiss’ before leaving. In ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’ the lucky girl is Kim MacAffee (Sadie Thompson), one of Conrad’s fans from the small town of Sweet Apple.

“Everybody did a great job,” junior Nick Farella said. “You didn’t know where to look because of all the interesting things that were going on.”

While this is the final production of the year, this musical gave some students their first experience performing a show. Sophomore Emily Battaglia is in her second year of drama and will be taking IB Theater her junior year, but “Bye Bye Birdie” was her first performance in a school production.

“When I was on stage, I felt great,” Battaglia said. “The feeling of completing my first show was really rewarding.”

Battaglia played the secretary and girlfriend of manager Albert Peterson, Rosie Alverez. Rosie cannot wait for Albert to leave the musical business and become an English teacher. Throughout the show, Rosie discovers new things about herself and her relationship with Albert.

“I just went through my songs and really focused to make sure I was ready,” Battaglia said. “I wasn’t really nervous but on stage every once in a while I would look down at the audience and have to quickly look away.”

While students like Battaglia are just beginning to participate in the school productions, others completed their last shows before graduation.

“This was my last play this year; it was really fun and I’m going to miss it,” senior Michael VanCamp (Mr. MacAfee, Kim’s father) said. “I like acting and putting together the show with all the people. It’s fun to go through the entire process; you get to know a lot of people”

Although he is sad to leave the theater, VanCamp has advice for those just entering the drama environment:

“Just have fun, don’t be shy, try new things, and don’t get stressed.”