By MIKE CHAIKEN
“We love you Conrad. Oh yes we do. We love you Conrad. And we will be true.”
So goes one of the most famous songs in the stage musical, “Bye, Bye Birdie,” which follows the adventures surrounding pop star Conrad Birdie’s draft into the Army.
As the story progresses on stage, audiences are treated to the typical teen hysteria surrounding rock stars of the early 1960s.
But as the young performers in the Plainville Choral Society’s Youth Theater production of the musical explain, the story still holds relevance to the teens of today.
Can anyone say One Direction or Justin Bieber?
The Plainville Choral Society Youth Theater production of “Bye Bye Birdie” opens Sept. 6 at Plainville High School. It continues on Satuday, Sept. 7.
Several of the older teens in the cast gathered recently to talk about the show and the Youth Theater’s take on it.
When asked how the show still relates to teens in 2013, Amy Couch said, “There’s always that one really popular celebrity that all the teenage girls are chasing after and want to meet. That’s exactly like Conrad Birdie in the show. The teen girls in the show react a lot like the teen girls today. They’re screaming and just energetic and happy to meet him.”
Raechel Johnski said, “I think we all have that kind of person we look up to like a role model such as Conrad Birdie in the show.”
“It’s kind of fun to see all the teenagers on stage and being so enthusiastic, not just about the celebrity but about life,” said Savannah Freitas.
Reilly Lincavicz said, “One main theme (in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’) is growing up. Some characters such as ‘Kim’ are trying to grow up too fast. While some characters, like ‘Albert,’ (Conrad’s agent) aren’t growing up fast enough.”
The teen aspect of the show is not the only dimension of the show holds relevance to today, said the cast members. The adult characters also still hold relatable in 2013.
Reilly plays Rosie, the secretary to Albert. “Rosie is very confident in herself and she really embraces her ethnicity, she’s Spanish, and I think there are lot of people who are confident and embrace who they are let themselves shine through,” said Reilly.
Nicholas Zaleski, who plays Albert, noted, “A lot of parts revolve around my and Rosie’s relationship… The structure of relationships hasn’t really changed much in time…”
Although the music of “Bye Bye Birdie” is nearly 50 years old, the young cast still finds it appealing.
“It is actually very uplifting. Most of the songs are energetic,” said Steven Tessman. “The music is great.”
“A lot of the music is energetic and exciting and it makes you want to get up and dance,” said Raechel. And even if she wasn’t in the show, Raechel thought the score would be something she would listen to.
The music in the show is “kind of a throwback,” said Nicholas. “A lot of the shows we do have a more modern set of music. But with ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’ it takes place in the 1960s. It’s nice to hear music that we might not get to hear that often. It’s a style of music a lot of people enjoy. And even though we weren’t able to live in that time, it’s good that we are able to enjoy the music.”
As far as what the cast likes about their own production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” Reilly said, Amy said, “Not only are there teen roles, there are adult roles…A lot of different age groups can get into the show and relate to it.”
“For couples in the audience, it’s a way to see problems an (adult) couple has but in a humorous way… It’s humorous to see how little problems can be so stupid,” said Nicholas.
Savannah said, “I think (‘Bye Bye Birdie’) was cast really well… Each person really fits their role really well. And the chemistry makes it work… There’s a lot of good energy on stage. It will be really enjoyable to watch.”
“I think the show is very energetic… There are huge dance numbers that are such fun and full of life,” said Reilly. And the characters are so relatable. There are a lot of teen roles. It’s such a fun show. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun in a role before. It’s a blast.”
“It’s a funny show,” said Nicholas. “I think that even though it takes place in the 1960s, it does revolve around a lot of teen roles. That’s relatable because we’ll probably have a largely teen audience. I think the music is enjoyable. It’s all upbeat. It’s fun. Overall, it’s a really fun play.”
The Plainville Choral Society Youth Theater production of “Bye Bye Birdie” will be presented Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Plainville High School, One Holcomb Way, Plainville. Tickets go on sale on Aug. 27 and will be available at Saint’s Restaurant, Dancingly Yours, and the Plainville Senior Center.
By MIKE CHAIKEN