Notre Dame students preparing for 1950s-era musical

Monday, April 2, 2012
Taylor Palmer, standing, Jake Powderly, left, Aaron Arnzen, Ryan Hulshof and Nick Pfau, perform during rehearsal for Notre Dame Regional High School's production of 'Bye, Bye, Birdie.' (ADAM VOGLER)

If your fondest memories are from the days of saddle shoes, rock 'n' roll and "The Ed Sullivan Show," you'll want to see Notre Dame Regional High School's "Bye Bye Birdie" production this month.

"Our music teacher has wanted to do it for a long time, and we felt like we had talent that matched the production and performance needs this year," says director Cynthia King.

Shows are set for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12, through Sunday, April 15, in the Notre Dame Cafetorium.

This year's show marks King's 40th musical direction, and the school's first performance of "Bye Bye Birdie." The show debuted as a Broadway musical in 1960 and as a film in 1963. King expects Notre Dame's rendition to be a hit with all ages, from grandparents who still know all the songs by heart to students who can relate to the teenage characters.

"I think it appeals to everybody because of the numbers in the show. You see teens trying to find their place in life, and adults confused about what's going on with the kids," says King. "It's kind of like the high school musical-version of 'Grease.' It's cleaner, it's cuter, and it's easier, I think, for students to identify with the characters. And the dance is so fun for them."

The dancing and music are a challenge for the students, says King, but they've been working diligently with choreographer Deana Pecord and vocal director Ellen Seyer to perfect their performance.

"Some of the music is deceptively difficult. It seems simple but the harmonies are not," says King, adding, "It's an exciting thing for the audience to come and see guys dancing. Everybody's used to seeing girls dance, and a lot of them take classes when they're little, but to see boys put so much effort into dancing, you get even more of a surprise."

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or by calling 573-335-6772, ext. 302.

Meet the players of 'Bye Bye Birdie'

Director: Cynthia King

Vocal director: Ellen Seyer

Choreographer: Deana Pecord

Conductor: Jim Hindman

Rose: Taylor Palmer

Albert: Matt Jedlinski

Conrad Birdie: Kevin Brost

Kim: Lindsey Grojean

Hugo: Justin Keusenkothen

Mrs. Peterson: Madeline Dufek

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