'Bye Bye Birdie' at the Bromeley

“Bye Bye Birdie,” a Broadway musical comedy based on the early career of Elvis Presley, will be staged Thursday, April 30, at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Woodwind Productions will present the Rock 'n' Roll era-inspired show at 7:30 p.m. at the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall. Admission is $29 at the door and $24 in advance for the public, $25 at the door and $20 in advance for Pitt-Bradford faculty and staff, and $12 at the door and $10 in advance for students. The show is part of the university’s Season Subscription Series.

“Bye Bye Birdie” provided the launching pad for the Broadway careers of songwriters Charles Strouse and Lee Adams.

The title character is a Presley-esque Conrad Birdie, idol of teens across the country. Conrad, like Presley, is drafted, throwing his agent, Albert Peterson, out of work. Albert and his girlfriend hold a nationwide contest -- a lucky girl will give a good-bye kiss to Conrad on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

The winner, Kim McAfee, gets a visit from Conrad at her Midwestern home, frustrating her father and making her boyfriend jealous.

“‘Bye Bye Birdie’ is the historical ancestor to ‘Grease’ and ‘High School Musical,’” said Randy Mayes, director of arts programming at Pitt-Bradford. “Birdie is the teen musical that started the trend, and it’s a lot of fun to see where these modern musicals originated.”

Making its debut on April 14, 1960, “Bye Bye Birdie” had 607 performances on Broadway before being turned into two movies in 1963 and 1995. Dick Van Dyke and Charles Nelson Reilly portrayed roles in the original production.

The lineup of songs include “How Lovely to be a Woman,” “Put on a Happy Face,” “Kids” and the famous scene of “The Telephone Hour.”

The stage production garnered eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Life Magazine described the show as “a tuneful teenage rampage... a buttercup-bright musical hit that adds a note of fun to the Broadway season.”

A pre-show dinner will begin at 5:45 p.m. in the KOA Dining Hall of the Frame-Westerberg Commons. The menu includes grilled chicken with vodka sauce, sour cream smashed potatoes, carrots Vichy, Caesar salad with homemade croutons, rolls with butter, vanilla custard with mixed berries and fresh whipped cream, iced tea, water and coffee. Cost is $18.

For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at 814-362-7609 or arj4@pitt.edu.

For tickets, call the Bromeley Family Theater box office at (814) 362-5113.

The photos of Woodwind Productions’ ‘Bye-Bye Birdie,’ are ‘Idol’ -- Eli Budwill plays Birdie for a bevy of starstruck teens; ‘Key to Sweet Apple’ -- the mayor, played by Dave Adamick, gives the key to the city to Birdie, played by Eli Budwill; and ‘Telephone Booth’ -- a cast number from the show.


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