CEDAR FALLS – Cedar Falls Community Theater will present their rendition of the classic musical, “Bye Bye Birdie,” this weekend at Oster Regent Theatre, the home of CFCT since 1994.
“Bye Bye Birdie” originally premiered on Broadway in the early 1960s, inspired by the stardom of Elvis Presley and his draft notice in 1957.
The story follows Conrad Birdie, a rock ‘n’ roll superstar who gets drafted into the Army and leaves his songwriter, Albert Peterson, potentially out of commission. His secretary, Rose, comes up with a plan to have Birdie perform one last song on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and give one lucky girl a goodbye kiss before he leaves for the Army.
Director Liane Nichols said the theater chose “Bye Bye Birdie” because of its popularity, upbeat message and a cast that features young people, a demographic CFCT reaches out to.
“Bye Bye Birdie” features musical numbers such as “One Last Kiss,” “How Lovely to Be a Woman” and “Put on a Happy Face.”
“The music is great; some beautiful tunes and some jazzy upbeat things,” Nichols said.
“I like the fact that it has a happy ending and it gives us a little nostalgia trip back into an earlier period. It’s one that I grew up in so it appeals to me from that standpoint.”
Nichols said many people acting in and working on the production have never previously been in a CFCT production.
“It’s been gratifying to have a lot of new people involved,” Nichols said. “We have some wonderful talent in this show and people who are eager to give themselves to the process of the show. Dealing with the people in this show has been a real pleasure.”
The lead part of Conrad Birdie will be played by Dillon Bosler, a recent University of Northern Iowa graduate.
“I decided to audition because I’ve had good past experiences with the Cedar Falls Community Theater, and I wanted to continue to invest myself into a place where I love to be at,” Bosler said. “The music is catchy, the characters are funny and relatable, and the story is unlike any other. It’s going to be hard for the audience not to be singing our songs on their way home.”
The show will feature a 10-piece pit orchestra conducted by Leonard Upham. John Luzaich serves as the director’s assistant, and Christine Dornbusch is choreographer.
“I hope that things go smoothly so that the audience is transported, and that they have as much fun as we have had putting it together,” Nichols said.