BYE BYE BIRDIE, the Michael Stewart/Charles Strouse/Lee Adams classic, just opened in a new production at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam CT, where it will play through September 8th.
The production, directed by Jenn Thompson, features Broadway stars Janet Dacal and George Merrick as Rose and Albert, and Rhett Guter as Conrad Birdie. Patricia Wilcox choreographed, with dance arrangements by David Krane and music direction by Michael O’Flaherty.
The reviews are in, and Connecticut fans and critics are spreading sunshine all over the place! Here’s a sampling of some of the reviews:
The Wall Street Journal:
“BYE BYE BIRDIE still has undeniable charm, as well as a well-crafted book by Michael Stewart and a Charles Strouse-Lee Adams score that sports two blue-chip standards, ‘A Lot of Livin’ to Do’ and ‘Put on a Happy Face.’ Stage it well and you’ll send everybody home with a smile. Stage it really well—the way Goodspeed Musicals is doing—and they’ll go home laughing out loud.
“What makes Goodspeed’s BIRDIE fly high is the presence at the helm of Jenn Thompson, one of the most talented directors on the East Coast… There is no distancing irony… nor is there is anything faded or dusty about her production. BYE BYE BIRDIE is light entertainment pure and simple, with the emphasis on ‘pure.’ You can definitely take the kids, though you’ll have to explain to them who Ed Sullivan was.”
“This production is vibrant, energetic, fresh, and really funny. It captures the time-period perfectly from the slang to the costumes, and especially the frenzy caused by a handsome young singer not afraid to shake his hips to the new beats of Rock and Roll… A great evening of theater… you will definitely leave the theater with a happy face.”
The Hartford Courant:
“BYE BYE BIRDIE is studded with splashy production numbers that spill off the stage… Conrad also brings down the house — heck, decimates an entire town — with his earth-shakin’ rendition of “Honestly Sincere”… This is a balanced BIRDIE that takes time to stop and smell the apple blossoms, making its “bye bye” much sweeter.”
The New Haven Register:
“Put on a happy face, indeed. Goodspeed’s summer tenant BYE BYE BIRDIE proudly doles out show-stopping and scenery-chewing moments to its able cast in a lively and fun production running through Sept. 8 at the historic theater on the Connecticut River.”
“During intermission and following the performance, it seemed that the word on everyone’s lips was ‘fun.’ The projection videos during the overture and entr-acte brought the audience back to a simpler time… kudos to projection designer Daniel Brodie on a job done with a keen eye.”
The Shoreline Times: “In Janet Dacal’s Rose, [BYE BYE BIRDIE] gives us one of the best performances in a musical so far this season. Everything’s coming up Rosie on the Goodspeed stage.”
South Shore Critic:
“As usual, Goodspeed spins yet another miracle, a high-spirited romp with direction by Jenn Thompson (who keenly respects the original material but has a lot of fun with it)… As is often the case with Goodspeed, everyone on stage is so amazingly good that it’s impossible to single anyone out.”
The Westfield News:
“The Charles Strouse and Lee Adams score, with now standards ‘Put on a Happy Face,’ ‘Kids,’ and ‘A Lot of Living To Do,’ alongside mock rock ‘One Last Kiss’ and “[Honestly] Sincere,’ has aged well… It all works. BYE BYE BIRDIE, with the Goodspeed touch, will be fun for the boomers, who lived through Elvis, the younger folk who grew up on the movie, and the many people who have seen local productions.”
Congratulations to everyone involved in making Goodspeed’s BYE BYE BIRDIE such a smash!
BYE BYE BIRDIE continues to be one of the most popular musicals produced in schools across America. If you’re interested in producing BYE BYE BIRDIE at your school or theatre, Tams-Witmark proudly offers two options:
- The original BYE BYE BIRDIE – a full-length, two-act musical
- BYE BYE BIRDIE Young Performers’ Edition – a 60-minute version of the show. The YPE includes many helpful tools for school productions, including a full production guide, a choreography DVD, and pre-recorded accompaniment tracks for performance.
Life’s a ball if only you know it,
And it’s all just waiting for you.
You’re alive, so come on and show it–
You’ve got a lot of livin’ to do!