Bye Bye Birdie looks at rock and roll impact

Bye Bye Birdie opens this week in the Graham Theatre, directed by Randy Newbury, produced by Damon Fultz, with choreography by Karry Kozak.

Brady Moore plays Conrad Birdie and Autumn Mastin is Kim MacAfee (centre) in G.W. Graham's production of Bye Bye Birdie. Also pictured is Lucas Simpson (left) as Hugo Peabody (Kim's boyfriend)

Imagine a simpler time — one that reigned before rock and roll swept across North America.

Bye Bye Birdie opens this week at G.W. Graham Theatre, directed by Randy Newbury, produced by Damon Fultz, with choreography by Karry Kozak.

“It’s a show for all ages, with recognizable music and lots of energy,” says Newbury, who is acting in, as well as directing, the musical satire.

It’s 1958 and the advent of rock music is about to take America by storm.

“Bye Bye Birdie captures the essence of that time,” Newbury says. “It looks at the impact of rock and roll and its impact on kids and adults alike.”

It was the start of the generation gap. Kids felt like they weren’t being understood by their parents, and vice-versa.

Bye Bye Birdie runs April 30 to May 10 at G.W. Graham Theatre, and the production is a partnership between G.W. Graham Theatre and Newbury Arts Concepts.

A cast of 36 actors from age 10 to 80 is ready to entertain Chilliwack audiences with their singing, dancing and acting chops.

The story of Bye Bye Birdie is loosely based on the star power of the likes of Elvis Presley or Conway Twitty.

It follows the career of fictional crooner and pop star Conrad Birdie who they learn is being drafted into military service. His legion of teenaged fans are crushed. That is until someone devises a plan for a new song, and staged kiss from Birdie’s number-one fan. They decide to release it live on the Ed Sullivan Show, before Birdie gets shipped out overseas.

“It’s going to be very funny, and it’s a cheap night out,” Newbury says.

Musical direction is by Paula Quick, orchestra direction by Adam Van Loo, and stage managing by Steffi Munshaw.

The show combines the talent of G.W. Graham students as well as community members.

“It’s a joint collaboration between school and community to create an educational experience for students with both professional and amateur role models, all of whom are passionately dedicated to theatre,” he says.

The entire theatre, from the lobby to the seats will be decked out in 50s memorabilia to help the crowd get in the mood, with interactive activities in the lobby.

The musical features classic tunes such as Put On a Happy Face, Rosie, and many more.

Bye Bye Birdie, in the Graham Theatre, April 29-May 10 at G.W. Graham Middle Secondary School at 45955 Thomas Road, 604-847-0772.

Special Preview is on April 29, 7:30 p.m. by donation to the Patrick O’Brien Scholarship Fund, most shows at 7:30 p.m. but 2 p.m. Sunday matinee is on May 4. Tickets are $15/$10 at GW Graham Middle Secondary School 694-847-0772 or the Dogfather (9701 Menzies St) 604-392-4364.