Bye Bye Birdie

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A loving send-up of the 1960s, small-town America, teenagers, and rock & roll, BYE BYE BIRDIE remains as fresh and vibrant as ever. Teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie has been drafted, so he chooses All-American girl Kim McAfee for a very public farewell kiss. Featuring a tuneful high-energy score, plenty of great parts for teens, and a hilarious script, BIRDIE continues to thrill audiences around the world.

Hit songs include “Put on a Happy Face,” “One Last Kiss,” “One Boy,” “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” “Kids!” and “Rosie.”

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

Photo by Diane Sobolewski, courtesy of Goodspeed Opera House

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • It is 1960, and a chorus of young girls energetically sings the praises of rock & roll idol Conrad Birdie. At Almelou Music Corp. in New York, Conrad’s managers, Albert Peterson and Rosie Alvarez (who’ve been dating for years), learn that their client has been inducted into the army. Though she’d prefer that Albert settle down and become “An English Teacher,” Rosie concocts a plan: as a publicity stunt, Conrad will bid a typical American teen-age girl goodbye with a public farewell kiss. Rosie randomly selects the name of the lucky girl: fifteen-year-old Kim McAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio.

    Meanwhile, in Sweet Apple, every teenager in town is on the phone, gossiping about Kim and her new steady, Hugo Peabody (“The Telephone Hour”). Kim, who proudly celebrates her new maturity (“How Lovely To Be A Woman”), is astonished to hear the news about Birdie.

    In New York’s Penn Station, Albert cheers up a downcast Birdie fan (“Put On A Happy Face”). Mae, Albert’s overbearing mother, voices her objections to his Spanish girlfriend, Rose, and Albert withers, failing to stand up for Rosie. Birdie arrives, pursued by reporters, but Albert and Rosie deftly manage the press (“Healthy Normal American Boy”). In Sweet Apple, Hugo is a bit jealous of the attention Kim pays to Birdie, but Kim assures Hugo he is the “One Boy” for her. On the courthouse steps, the Mayor welcomes Conrad, who bowls everyone over with his powerhouse hit, “Honestly Sincere.”

    With Conrad staying for the week, the McAfee household is completely turned upside down. A frustrated Mr. McAfee is all set to put his foot down, until he hears the family will be appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show (“Hymn For A Sunday Evening”). Mae, who followed Albert and Rosie by bus, introduces Albert to a “sensational broad,” Gloria Rasputin, whom Albert begrudgingly hires as a typist. Rosie, enraged by Albert’s behavior, enlists the aide of Hugo in a plan to undermine the big show. On The Ed Sullivan Show, Conrad prepares to give Kim “One Last Kiss,” but at the last minute, Hugo steps onstage and punches Conrad, knocking him to the floor. Everyone scatters, and Rosie bids Albert a bitter farewell, leaving him alone on national television. Smiling nervously, Albert desperately tries to recover (“Healthy Normal American Boy” Reprise).

    Act Two begins with Rosie and Kim packing up to leave their men (“What Did I Ever See In Him?”). Albert and Mae make a new plan: Conrad will now kiss Kim at the train station before he leaves. But Conrad is tired of being locked up in a suburban household, and he invites the kids to join him in a wild night out (“A Lot of Livin’ To Do”). Mr. and Mrs. McAfee, fearing the worst, join up with other parents to find their teens (“Kids!”). Meanwhile, Rosie makes her way to a dive bar, where she refuses to take a phone call from Albert (“Baby, Talk To Me”) and parties with a roomful of businessmen (“The Shriner Ballet”). Mae continues to pester Albert and berate Rosie. Finally, Albert stands up to his mother, demanding that she go home.

    At the Ice House, a popular “make-out spot” for teens, Kim tries to ward off Conrad’s advances. The parents and Hugo arrive just in time, and Kim realizes that she belongs with Hugo. Rosie and Albert make up, too, and Rosie has a bit of fun mocking Mae (“Spanish Rose”). The next morning, Albert sneaks Conrad out of town and tells Rose he’s accepted a teaching job in Pumpkin Falls, Iowa. Albert and Rose celebrate their new future (“Rosie”) and dance off into the sunset.

  • BYE BYE BIRDIE
    A Musical Comedy
    Book by Michael Stewart
    Music by Charles Strouse
    Lyrics by Lee Adams
    Originally Produced by Edward Padula

    The names of the authors shall immediately follow the title of the play and shall be at least fifty (50%) percent of the size of the title of the play. The names of the authors shall be equal to each other in size, boldness and color, and no more than four principal performers shall have billing of a size equal to or larger than the authors. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    BYE BYE BIRDIE
    is presented by arrangement with
    TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC.
    560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022

  • 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
    2 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.

    Optional additional materials are available (see list under Rehearsal Materials).

  • 1        Piano Conductor’s Score
    1        Prompt Book with Vocal Parts for Director
    30      Prompt Books with Vocal Parts for Cast and Chorus

    Original Cast CD, if available, is sent with perusal material.

    Optional Additional Materials

    1       Full Score (Partitur) in 4 volumes is available, at an additional charge, with the rental of the full orchestration. [SAMPLE]
    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 – young man in early thirties, President of Almaelou Music Corp.
    Rose Alvarez – Albert’s secretary, principal dancer and singer
    Conrad Birdie – rock star

    Mr. MacAfee (Harry) – father of Kim and Randolph
    Mrs. MacAfee (Doris) – mother of Kim and Randolph
    Kim MacAfee – 15 years old, very pretty and quite self-possessed
    Randolph MacAfee – Kim’s younger brother

    Hugo Peabody – Kim’s “steady”
    Ursula Merkle – a hyper-enthusiastic dark-haired teen friend and neighbor of Kim’s

    Teenagers

    (8 female; 3 male)

    Deborah Sue – Sweet Apple teenager (teen chorus)
    Margie – (teen chorus; speaks Act I, Scene 5; Act I, Scene 7)
    Alice – Sweet Apple teenager and Mayor’s daughter (teen chorus)
    Harvey Johnson – (teen chorus; speaks Act I, Scene 2)
    Helen – teenage singer (non-speaking)
    Nancy – (teen chorus; speaks Act I, Scene 5)
    Penelope – (voice; Act I, Scene 5; Act II, Scene 7)
    Suzie (non-speaking)
    Karl (non-speaking)
    Freddie (non-speaking)
    One Girl – (teen chorus; speaks Act I, Scene 4)

    Adults

    Mrs. Mae Peterson – Albert’s mother, the quintessential “Mamma”
    Gloria Rasputin – A big broad, tap-dancing “secretary” – Mae’s choice to replace Rosie
    Bartender (member of Male Quartet)
    Mayor – of Sweet Apple, Ohio
    Mayor’s Wife – Edna (member of Quartette, Act I, Scene 9)
    Mrs. Merkle – Ursula’s mother
    Mr. Johnson – Harvey Johnson’s father
    Conrad’s Guitar Man (non-speaking)
    Policeman – in New York train station (speaks Act I, Scene 4)
    First Reporter
    Second Reporter (non-speaking cameraman)
    Third Reporter
    Traveler – part of crowd in New York train station (speaks Act I, Scene 4 only)
    Trainman – (voice; Act I, Scene 4)

    From the Chorus (non-speaking)

    2 Sad Girls (dancers)
    Travelers (adult chorus)
    Train Station Personnel (baggage handlers, etcetera)
    Policemen (several) – New York and Ohio
    Sweet Apple Parents (adult chorus)
    2 Drum Majorettes
    TV Show Stage Crew:
    Stage Manager
    4 Stagehands
    2 Audio Men
    2 Wardrobe Women
    Doctor

    Maude – proprietor/bartender of ‘Maude’s Roadside Retreat” (member of Male Quartet)
    Dishwasher (member of Male Quartet; speaks Act II, Scene 4)
    First Customer (member of Male Quartet; speaks Act II, Scene 4)
    Second Customer (member of Male Quartet; speaks Act II, Scene 4)
    Quartet of Townspeople (men)
    Sweet Apple Shriners (dancers)

    Various Voices

    Ed Sullivan (offstage)
    2 Reporters (additional) – [one is a cameraman (non-speaking)]
    Fred – (Act I, Scene 5)
    Lee – (Act I, Scene 5)
    Phyllis – (Act I, Scene 5)
    Four Men – (Act I, Scene 7)
    Girl – (Act I, Scene 7)
    Train Conductor – (Act II, Scene 8)
    Another Parent – (Act II, Scene 6)

    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

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