For Christmas 2015, we decided to put on a performance of the 1960s American Rock ’n’ Roll musical “Bye Bye Birdie”. Last year’s “The Wizard of Oz” had been a big success and we all wanted to try another musical.
The story is about a typical 18-year-old American High School girl from Ohio called Kim McAfee - played by me! - who is chosen out of all the teenagers in America to give one last kiss to nationwide teenage heart-throb and Rock ’n’ Roll singer Conrad Birdie before he goes into the US Army.
The play is set in the 1960s, so all the girls’ dresses were from that period, with lots of polkadots and frilly underskirts, and the boys wearing Hawaiian-style shirts, and everyone with fancy hairdos - puffy or ponytails with lots of hairspray for the girls, and long and greasy for the boys.
The actual performance a week before Christmas was really great. I opened the show as Kim singing the title song “Bye Bye Birdie”, and then there were lots of other songs by the rest of the cast throughout the evening. But especially there was a lot of dancing by all the “teenagers” in the Soda Fountain with Birdie, and a whole lot of screaming whenever Conrad appeared in his gold lame suit and white electric guitar, swivelling his hips and growling into the microphone!
To create such an exciting show we had a great deal of help. Tara Leiper, a professional singer and local music teacher, came a few times to show us how to really belt out these loud American songs. She got us all rockin’ and rollin’ with her infectious enthusiasm.
After the final curtain on Friday night, we had an aftershow party to celebrate the great success of our production. And to say goodbye to Bas Kornet, who had been one of the stars, and who was leaving the next day.
All in all it was a memorable experience, and I can’t wait to see what we’ll do next year!