Weekend: Van Buren High School presents ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

MEMBERS OF THE CAST of Van Buren High School's production of "Bye Bye Birdie" pose for a photo. The musical will be held March 21-22 in the high school auditorium.

MEMBERS OF THE CAST of Van Buren High School’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie” pose for a photo. The musical will be held March 21-22 in the high school auditorium. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

The Van Buren High School Music and Drama departments will present their spring musical, “Bye Bye Birdie,” Friday and Saturday, March 21-22, at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
The popular musical tells the story of Conrad Birdie, a rock ‘n’ roll musician (loosely based on Elvis Presley) who is about to be drafted into the military. His adoring fans are heartbroken, so his publicist plans a send-off event where he will perform one last song and kiss one lucky girl good-bye. The Tony award-winning musical debuted on Broadway in 1960.
“I am so grateful to be part of Van Buren’s production of ‘Bye Bye Birdie,'” said drama director Leigh Ann Erickson. “I have directed many shows in many different places, and this cast is one of the most excited, eager and willing group of students that I’ve worked with. I love watching their unique talents grow as they work on this show about literally and figuratively growing up. It is a great privilege to know and work with this cast and staff.”
Erickson teaches English and heads up the drama club at the high school.
Musical director is James Vaughn, who is the vocal music director at Van Buren.
“Having Mrs. Erickson on the drama end of such a large production has helped so much in freeing up resources and saving a lot of time during rehearsals,” said Vaughn. “I’m very excited to have her here as part of the production.”
The production features Andrew Kelley as Conrad Birdie; Brandon Bell as Albert Peterson (Birdie’s publicist); Courtney Van Horn as Mrs. Mae Peterson (Albert’s mother); and Alyssa Miller as Rose Alvarez (Albert’s long-suffering girlfriend). Kim Macafee (the lucky teen selected to receive “one last kiss”) is played by Emily Anderberry. Matthew Wilkins and Natalie Risser portray her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Macafee.
The production will also feature a live orchestra made up of Van Buren students and alumni as well as community members. The orchestra is conducted by Rick Eakin, director of instrumental music at Van Buren.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. They will be available before and after school during the week of the show, as well as at the box office one-half hour prior to each show.

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