Bye Bye Birdie

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BYE BYE BIRDIE is one of the most captivating musical shows of our time. It is a satire crafted with the fondest affection telling the story of a rock and roll singer who is about to be inducted into the army. An English Teacher, What Did I Ever See in Him?, Put on a Happy Face, One Boy, A Lot of Livin’ to Do, Kids, Rosie and Spanish Rose are musical theatre classics. This is the tops in imagination and good old-fashioned fun.

Music samples provided courtesy of Decca Broadway, Strouse Publishing and Strada Music Company.

Interview with composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Lee Adams

*Music samples courtesy of Decca Broadway, Strada Music Co. and Charles Strouse Music.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • BYE BYE BIRDIE is one of the most captivating musical shows of our time. It tells the story of a rock and roll singer who is about to be inducted into the army. The singer, Conrad Birdie, an Elvis Presley type, has a pompadour and thick sideburns; he wears gaudy gold costumes and speaks in a rugged voice. Albert Peterson, his agent, is a very pleasant mild mannered young man. Albert’s faithful secretary Rose Alvarez keeps him and Birdie moving forward in the world. Rosie concocts one final national publicity plan before Conrad’s induction.
    Conrad will bid a typical American teen-age girl goodbye with an all-American kiss. Kim MacAfee in Sweet Apple, Ohio wins the honor. All of the phones in her town are already busy during The Telephone Hour as Kim has just been pinned to Hugo, a local boy. She is a pretty girl of fifteen and sings with spring like ardor How Lovely to Be a Woman, as she pulls on the plaid woolen socks and the baggy mustard colored sweater considered stylish and popular among young ladies.
    The arrival of Birdie in Sweet Apple causes people of all ages to swoon. Birdie says that his success is due to the fact that he is Honestly Sincere when he sings, and the quiet little town goes into a spin. The MacAfee household is completely upset by the visiting celebrity. It is decided that Birdie will give his One Last Kiss on the Ed Sullivan show. Kim’s father who laments the whole uproar, tries to break into the act and behaves like a ham on the TV show. Hymn for a Sunday Evening is a salute to the greater glory of Ed Sullivan.
    Birdie becomes disgusted with his life and goes out on the town with the teenagers. He feels tense with Albert and is tired of being supervised. The parents of Sweet Apple cannot understand the new generation and express this in Kids. Rosie, still waiting for that band of gold from Albert after eight years, invades a Shriners’ meeting. An extremely hilarious ballet ensues. She then decides to become the Latin American spitfire that she is painted as, by Albert’s lead-footed catastrophe-ridden mother. She is determined to become Spanish Rose. Kim is reunited with Hugo, and Rose with Albert in the lovely number Rosie. Other hit numbers include A Lot of Livin’ to Do and Put on a Happy Face.
    BYE BYE BIRDIE is a satire done with the fondest affection. It gives an insight into the everyday life that is very much part of us all. It is the tops in imagination and frivolity; a show that will be enjoyed by the cast as much as the audience.

  • Book by Michael Stewart
    Music by Charles Strouse
    Lyrics by Lee Adams
    Originally Produced by Edward Padula

  • Full Orchestration

    3 Violins
    2 Cellos
    1 Bass

    1 Reed I: Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute & Piccolo
    1 Reed II: Alto Saxophone & Clarinet
    1 Reed III: Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
    1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Baritone Saxophone

    1 Horn
    1 Trumpets I & II
    1 Trumpet III
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II

    1 Piano

    2 Percussion I & II: (trap drum set & mallet instruments)

    Percussion I:
    Bells (Glockenspiel)
    Vibraphone
    Xylophone
    Chimes
    Timpani (2 drums)
    Tambourine
    Timbales
    Gran Cassa
    Snare Drum Case
    Suspended Cymbal
    Castanets
    Gourd
    Cowbell

    Percussion II:
    Trap drum set-
    Bass Drum
    Snare Drum & Rack Tom
    Floor Tom
    various Cymbals
    hi-hat
    crash
    ride
    finger
    Wood Blocks (2)
    Bongos
    Large Military Snare Drum
    Gong
    Gunshot
    Kazoo (or Ratchet)

    Both players use Piatti, Triangle and Ratchet

    1 Guitar-Banjo (Banjo for “Overture A”; Electric Bass for “Telephone Hour” and “One Hundred Ways – Ballet” only)

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

    A special Keyboard Synthesizer part is available, when the complete orchestration is used, at an additional charge. It may be substituted for the 3 violin and 2 cello parts.

    Also available, at an additional charge: Full Orchestra Score (Partitur) in 4 volumes.

  • 1        Piano Conductor’s Score
    1        Prompt Book
    24      Prompt Books
    1        Original Cast CD
    36      Vocal-Chorus Parts

    Optional Additional Materials

    1       Stage Manager’s Guide
    3       Optional Additional Songs, from the 1995 television presentation:
    “Spanish Rose (Revised)”
    “Let’s Settle Down”
    “A Mother Doesn’t Matter Anymore”

  • Principals

    (4 female; 5 male)

    Albert Peterson
    Rose Alvarez
    Conrad Birdie

    Mr. MacAfee (Harry)
    Mrs. MacAfee (Doris)
    Kim MacAfee
    Randolph MacAfee

    Hugo Peabody
    Ursula Merkle

    Teenagers

    (8 female; 3 male)

    Deborah Sue
    Margie
    Alice
    Harvey Johnson
    Helen
    Nancy
    Penelope
    Suzie (non-speaking)
    Karl (non-speaking)
    Freddie (non-speaking)
    One Girl

    Adults

    Mrs. Mae Peterson
    Gloria Rasputin
    Bartender (member of Male Quartet)
    Mayor
    Mayor’s Wife
    Mrs. Merkle
    Mr. Johnson
    Conrad’s Guitar Man (non-speaking)
    Policeman
    First Reporter
    Second Reporter (non-speaking)
    Third Reporter
    Traveler
    Trainman

    From the Chorus (non-speaking)

    2 Sad Girls (dancers)
    Travelers (adult chorus)
    Train Station Personnel
    Policemen (several)
    Sweet Apple Parents (adult chorus)
    2 Drum Majorettes
    TV Show Stage Crew:
    Stage Manager
    4 Stagehands
    2 Wardrobe Women
    Doctor

    Dishwasher (member of Male Quartet)
    First Customer (member of Male Quartet)
    Second Customer (member of Male Quartet)
    Quartet of Townspeople (men)
    Sweet Apple Shriners (dancers)

    Various Voices

    Ed Sullivan (offstage)
    2 Reporters (additional)
    Fred
    Lee
    Phyllis
    Four Men
    Girl
    Train Conductor
    Another Parent

    The original Broadway production had a cast of 47 performers, including chorus. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts.

  • BYE BYE BIRDIE opened on Broadway, April 14, 1960 and played for 607 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre (later at the 54th Street and the Shubert Theatres) starring Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke as Rose and Albert. The show played for 268 performances in London at Her Majesty’s Theatre. It was revived on Broadway in 2009 and played for 117 performances at Henry Miller’s Theatre.

    Awards (1961)

    4 Tony Awards for Musical, Director, Choreography and Featured Actor
    The Outer Critics Circle Award for Musical