The Young People’s Theatre Workshop revives a teen idol for the ages in its upcoming production of Bye Bye Birdie, which runs from Friday, May 26, through Sunday, June 4. The play, first staged in 1960, could be regarded as the first rock & roll musical comedy. It captures the hysteria surrounding the every movement (particularly hip shakes) of a singing idol named Conrad Birdie, jumping off from the phenomenon of Elvis Presley, who was in his ascendancy when drafted into the Army in the late 1950s. So, too, with Birdie, who is put front and center of a publicity stunt as he prepares to report for duty in the military. What seems like harmless fun today outraged the fuddy-duddy daddies and mommies of the time, and broke countless lovesick hearts.
YPTW’s production involves more than 60 actors, aged 8 to 18, performing in two casts during the run from May 26 through June 4 at the Players Club of Swarthmore. Leads include Simon Shankweiler of Swarthmore (Conrad Birdie in both casts), Aidan Cole and Patrick Gaughan of Wallingford (manager Albert Peterson), Annie Mutz and Zoe Bock of Swarthmore (Rose Alvarez), Isabel Zarrow of Swarthmore and Elizabeth Hughes of Media (Kim McAfee), and Aidan Cunningham of Rutledge (Hugo Peabody).
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on May 26, 27, 30 and June 1 and 3. Sunday matinees (2 p.m.) are on May 28 and June 4, and a 6 p.m. performance is on May 29. Tickets are available at the door; advance tickets and other information on YPTW are also available via YPTW@aol.com and (610) 558-0988.