DDHS musical Bye Bye Birdie a spectacular show

Take a look at the photos and you’ll see why tickets to this rock-and-rolling show, set in the late 1950s, is a hit with audiences – and why you should reserve your tickets right now …

Conrad Birdie (Sam De Roest, playing the lead role of the ’50’s rock star about to be drafted) makes all the young gals in Sweet Apple, Ohio, swoon – as he sings his hit “Honestly Sincere” in the David Douglas High production of Bye Bye Birdie, running this weekend and next.

Story and lots of photos by David F. Ashton
We’ve come to expect top-notch productions from the Theater and Music Departments at David Douglas High School. “Bye Bye Birdie” – their winter production, which opened on December 4 and runs through December 13 – certainly raises the bar for high school musicals.

This show has it all – a love story, the portrayal of teenage angst, a cocky rock star, and swooning fans – brilliantly played out through story, song, and ballet, on a stunning, spectacular two-story stage.

The singing, dancing, and acting performed by the cast of 70 students, 12 DDHS staff members, and a full student orchestra rivals college and community theater productions.

Who’s going out with whom? That’s the question being asked in this number – called “The Telephone Hour”.

About the story …
About to be drafted into the army in 1958, rock star (picture Elvis Presley, really!) Conrad Birdie’s milquetoast agent, Albert Peterson, is upset about losing his meal-ticket to military service.

Peterson’s secretary, girlfriend, and perhaps fiancée, Rosie Alverez, comes up with a new song, “One Last Kiss“, that will be debuted live Ed Sullivan Show – during which one lucky girl from his fan club a real “one last kiss”.

“In reality, Conrad Birdie is a person of questionable character,” explained the show’s director, Judy Le Coq. “The comedy comes from the disruption his visit causes both in the girl’s family – and the entire town – by his actions, and by the town’s new-found fame.”

  • Can Peterson’s racist, overbearing momma really come between Albert and Rosie and destroy their happiness?
  • Will the father and/or steady boyfriend of Kim MacAfee, the fan chosen to receive the “last kiss”, prevent it from taking place?
  • Will Rosie escape the frenzied, dancing Shriners?
  • Will Conrad escape the clutches of the mob of town people who want to see him thrown in jail for eternity?

Find out – by seeing “Bye Bye Birdie” this weekend or next.

In song, agent and manager Albert Peterson (Keith Stokoe) advises fans feeling dejected that Conrad Birdie is about to go into the US Army to “Put On a Happy Face“.

Reserve tickets now
The show runs in the evenings at 7:30 p.m. tonight, and on December 6, 11, 12 and 13. And, there’s a special Sunday Matinee show on December 7 at 2:30 p.m.

All performances are at the Howard Horner Performing Arts Center, 1400 SE 130th Avenue, between SE Stark and SE Division Streets.

We understand that reserved seating sales are going at a brisk pace; we recommend you call for reservations (unpaid reservations are held only for 24 hours), or head for the box office and buy your tickets today. You can pick up your paid tickets at the theater’s box office in advance or when you arrive for the show.

Tickets are $10 for adults; seniors/students $7. Call to make your reservations at DDHS Box Office at (503) 261-8270.

Bye Bye Birdie photo album

Momma’s boy Albert Peterson (Keith Stokoe) tells his girlfriend Rose Alverez (Amanda Pred) to welcome his shrewish, demanding mother, Mae (Andrea Brown) when they meet.

Hugo Peabody (Jordan Brown) asks Kim MacAfee (Kimberly Sawtelle) to “go steady” – but neither of them yet know she’ll be the one selected to give Conrad Birdie his “last kiss” before going into the Army.

Kim and her mother, Doris (Leigh Callahan) try to calm her dad, Harry MacAfee (John Ellis), who is unhappy that Conrad Birdie is staying in his home, disrupting his life, and has chosen his daughter to kiss the rock star – until he learns they’ll be on national TV together.

On the Ed Sullivan Show, Conrad sings “One Last Kiss” to Kim. (Just look at the staging, lighting and costuming!)

The smooch, the surprise appearance of jealous Hugo – and his resulting action – disrupts the show.

Rosie leaves Albert, decides she’s “Got a Lot of Living to Do” – becomes “Spanish Rose” at Maude’s Roadhouse – and whips a group of Shriners into a dancing frenzy. (The fourth Shriner from the left is, indeed DDHS Principal John Bier!)

Curtain call for a show well performed.

Although they don’t get to take a bow, theater manager and Theater Crafts instructor Mark Taylor, and some of the crew shown here, turned this show from simply good to spectacular.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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