Seaholm to stage ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 6, 2018

 Seaholm High School’s drama program will perform  the Broadway classic “Bye Bye Birdie” Feb. 9-18. Featuring classic Broadway hits and a 1950s setting and theme, Seaholm’s production  of “Bye Bye Birdie” promises musical fans a great show.

Seaholm High School’s drama program will perform the Broadway classic “Bye Bye Birdie” Feb. 9-18. Featuring classic Broadway hits and a 1950s setting and theme, Seaholm’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie” promises musical fans a great show.

Photo provided by Laurie Frick

BIRMINGHAM — Seaholm High School’s drama department is putting on a Broadway classic, and it is inviting the community to come in and enjoy some great music, dancing and acting.

The students will present “Bye Bye Birdie,” which tells the story of an Elvis-like rock ’n’ roll star in the 1950s and efforts to put down one last song before being drafted into the Army.

“‘Bye Bye Birdie’ is very entertaining and lighthearted. It’s about a typical American family meeting a pop star in the 1950s,” explained director Laurie Frick. “We’re producing the newer version, which expands the part of May Peterson, who is the main character Albert Peterson’s mother. They’ve produced ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ every 20 years on Broadway in a way where the characters continually evolve.”

The show will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9-10 and 16-17, and at 2 p.m. Feb. 11 and 18. Tickets cost $15 for general admission and $10 for senior citizens, and they are available at www.show tix4u.com and at the door.

“Our choreographer is Maritoni Harte, and we’ve worked together over the last several years,” said Frick. “Our pit director is Grace Wolfe, who also is the assistant band director at Seaholm. The students really respect Grace. My vision for the sets were to keep them very small and keep them with that same cartoon-y feeling. Tiffany Ericson has worked with our students to bring them to life.”

The cast and crew wanted to use the talent of the student actors to embrace the inherent campiness of the 1950s era by focusing on an over-the-top and exaggerated style.

“My vision is to bring the characters to life as a cartoon, so the characters are over-the-top and very pronounced, and I think the kids are very talented,” said Frick. “We have some great vocal performances. I believe the most important aspect of a musical is the voices — it’s not called a dancical.”

The Seaholm team decided to do this play because it’s been a long time since it was last performed at the school, and it offered opportunities for a large number of students to participate.

“We decided to do ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ after I brought two or three shows to the students, and we decided on this one because it has a large cast,” said Frick. “We had more than 50 students interested, and we didn’t want a show with only one female lead and one or two male leads. It hasn’t been done in more than 25 years at Seaholm. It’s a fun and upbeat show that I think the community will love.”

The students are looking forward to showing off weeks of hard work to a real audience. They think they have been able to produce something special.

“I’ve learned going through the script many times and the many hours we’ve put into rehearsal that this musical is the epitome of entertainment,” remarked senior Derrick Johnson, who plays Albert Peterson. “We put lots of work into our characters that we convey lots of emotion, and there’s great comedy and music there. When you sit down in the auditorium, be prepared to sit down with a happy face. The whole Seaholm community was behind this production. We have students from all grades here involved, and we put hours and hours of work into this. It would be amazing to see a big crowd at the shows to see that work paid off.”

Adding to the significance of the production is the fact that this will be the last play performed in the current auditorium at Seaholm before a new facility is completed in time for the 2018-19 school year.

“This is our last year working on this stage,” explained Frick. “The Seaholm auditorium closes in March, and when it reopens there will be a badly needed scene shop where the sets are built, proper dressing rooms, bathrooms, a makeup room, new lighting and a new sound system. The whole theater is getting a facelift with things like a new stage surface and new curtains. Aisles will be added along the side going up on the stage. All of this was achieved because of the bond that passed in 2015.”

The most important aspect of “Bye Bye Birdie,” said Frick and several of the actors, is how fun it is. They believe it will be fun for the audience as well.

“What I love about ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ is it’s a show that you really have fun with,” said senior Lulu Bushman, who plays Kim Matasee. “You get to enjoy yourself in the show, and when you see the show you walk away feeling really good. ... It’s a classic, and people liked the previous movie adaptation, and I think they will love the play here as well.”