Rock star makes gals swoon in Bye Bye Birdie at DDHS

See why you should order your tickets NOW for year’s musical at David Douglas High School, starting its run on December 4 …

All of the townspeople – especially the girls – are enamored with Conrad Birdie (Sam De Roest, playing the lead role of the ’50’s rock star about to be drafted) in their production of Bye Bye Birdie, opening for a limited run on December 4.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For the first time ever, the timeless musical Bye Bye Birdie will take the stage at David Douglas High School (DDHS), opening on December 4.

This lavish production, played out on a double-deck stage, will feature a singing, dancing, and acting cast of 70 students – and 12 DDHS staff members (including Principal John Bier as a Shriner!) – plus the school’s full orchestra.

Adapting to adoration
“It’s pretty nice to be adored both on and off stage,” DDHS senior Sam De Roest says with a smile, about his lead role of Conrad Birdie, a 1950’s rock-and-roll star modeled after Elvis Presley.

“Birdie is a character who is kind of a jerk – making him fun to play – but he learns about love and responsibility. You can’t beat that in a role,” De Roest told us.

Here’s the story:
A hip-swiveling rock and roll superstar (modeled after Elvis Presley), named Conrad Birdie (the name is a parody of the ’50’s singer Conway Twitty), is about to be drafted into the army in 1958. Birdie’s agent wants to cash in on new song, “One Last Kiss” on live television, and give one lucky girl from his fan club a real “one last kiss” during the Ed Sullivan Show.

“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 the town’s new-found fame.”

Spectacular staging
“The two-story, multi-position stage that theater arts instructor Mark Taylor and his class created is just unbelievable,” Le Coq said.

Taylor agreed that building a set of this kind is an ambitious project.

“We came up with this two-story set,” commented Taylor, “as we thought about a number in the show called ‘The Telephone Hour’ – and started designing a setting reminiscent of the ‘Hollywood Squares’ game show. Each cubbyhole will accommodate rapid scene changes.”

Conrad Birdie (De Roest) is coached on his performance by the show’s director, Judy Le Coq.

Show opens December 4
Bye Bye Birdie opens on December 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Then, the show runs in the evenings at 7:30 p.m. on December 5, 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 Ave., 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 buy your tickets today. You can pick up your paid tickets at the theater’s box office in advance or before the show.

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

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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