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Bye Bye Birdie comes to stage April 19-21

Theatre Company reprises popular musical first performed 20 years ago

Theatre Company The musical that kicked off the Theatre Company’s string of successful productions is returning to the stage this month. Bye Bye Birdie, the Broadway musical inspired by rock-and-roll idol Elvis Presley’s army draft in September 1957, is being brought back 20 years after the founding of the venerable young people’s theatre program. “It’s remarkable to look back at the success of the Theatre Company,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “What began with our first production of Bye Bye Birdie in 1998, grew to include 50 productions involving hundreds of students. The impact of this program on the confidence and performance abilities of Tulare County students has been immeasurable.”

Bye Bye Birdie is the story of a rock-and-roll singer, Conrad Birdie, called to duty in the army and its effect on a group of teenagers in a small town in Ohio. Before Conrad deploys overseas, promoters have created a contest for him to deliver “one last kiss” to an adoring fan, Kim MacAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio. Conrad is being played by Logan Lancaster of Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, while Jessica Peters, a freshman at Redwood High School, plays Kim MacAfee.

Bye Bye Birdie is being directed by Theatre Company choreographer Nicole Zweifel. “One of the big challenges this year is that a huge class of students who had been involved with TCOE almost their entire school career has graduated,” she said. “While losing all of that maturity and experience is, of course, a challenge, it has opened the doors to meet many new students and allow others to rise up into leadership roles. I'm especially proud of Abbigail Cordeniz, a senior, who has participated with TCOE since she was six years old. She has really set a great example to the younger students during this transition time of what it means to come to rehearsal memorized and prepared to move forward each and every week.”

The Theatre Company will offer four performances of Bye Bye Birdie at the El Diamante Theater at 5100 W. Whitendale Ave. in Visalia. Evening performances will begin at 6:30 p.m. on April 19, 20 and 21. A 2:00 p.m. matinee will be held on Saturday, April 21. Tickets will be available April 3 at the Mooney Boulevard and Doe Avenue complexes for $10 per person. For information, call the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.

Principal Characters
Conrad Birdie played by Logan Lancaster, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, Visalia
Albert Peterson played by John Piper, El Diamante High School, Visalia
Kim MacAfee played by Jessica Peters, Redwood High School, Visalia
Doris MacAfee played by Abbigail Cordeniz, VTEC High School, Visalia
Randolph MacAfee played by Zion Sears, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, Visalia
Harry MacAfee played by Toby Shirk, Homeschool
Rose Alvarez played by Emilie Walker, Redwood High School, Visalia
Hugo Peabody played by Tyler Barnes, George McCann Memorial, Visalia
Ursula Merkle played by Anu Perry, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, Visalia
Mae Peterson played by Paige Ragan, Divisadero Middle School, Visalia


Photo above:
~ Logan Lancaster stars as Conrad Birdie in the classic Broadway musical
Bye Bye Birdie, a Theatre Company production at the El Diamante High School theater April 19-21.