“Put on a Happy Face!”
Danbury’s Musicals at Richter 28th Season under the Stars Continues with
“Bye Bye Birdie” through August 11
Danbury, Conn. – Musicals at Richter (MAR), now in its 28th season as the longest-running outdoor theater in Connecticut, continues its 2012 main stage season with “Bye Bye Birdie,“ Adams and Strouse’s vibrant and funny musical about the clash between rock-and roll celebrity and small town life, playing through August 11. Staged on the grounds of the Richter Arts Center, 100 Aunt Hack Road, in Danbury, remaining performances take place outdoors under the stars Thursday through Saturday evening, August 9 through 11, at 8:30 p.m.
Grounds open at 7:15 p.m. for picnicking. Tickets are $23 for adults, $18 for seniors and $15 for students and children. For the added show on Thursday, August 9, tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for seniors and $12 for students and children. Group rates and chair rentals are available, and a snack/soft drink concession is on site.
For reservations and further information, visit the website at www.musicalsatrichter.org, leave a message at 203-748-6873 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a book by Michael Stewart and a score by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse, Bye, Bye, Birdie is a musical satire set in the late 1950s that centers around an Elvis Presley-type singing sensation (Conrad Birdie) who is drafted into the Army. His agent and song writer (Albert Peterson) and Albert's secretary and love interest (Rosie Alvarez) plan a televised farewell performance for Birdie on The Ed Sullivan Show, which they hope will provide the publicity to sell his new song "One Last Kiss" and bring Albert's company out of debt. At the conclusion of the performance, Birdie will give a real kiss to a lucky girl from his fan club.
The lucky girl selected is Kim MacAfee from Sweet Apple, Ohio, president of the local Conrad Birdie fan club. There is much excitement, but once Albert, Rosie and Birdie arrive in Ohio to prepare for the television appearance, Kim and the residents of Sweet Apple are never the same! The upbeat and tuneful score includes such favorites as “Put On a Happy Face,” “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” “Kids,” and “The Telephone Hour.”
The original Tony Award-winning Broadway production opened on April 14, 1960 at the Martin Beck Theatre and ran for 607 performances. Directed and choreographed by the legendary Gower Champion, the original cast included Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera, Paul Lynde, Dick Gautier, Susan Watson, Kay Medford and Charles Nelson Reilly.
Bye Bye Birdie was adapted for film in 1963, with Dick Van Dyke reprising his stage role as a slightly rewritten Albert Peterson, Maureen Stapleton as Mama Mae Peterson, Janet Leigh as Rosie, Paul Lynde reprising his stage role as Mr. MacAfee, Bobby Rydell as Hugo Peabody, and Ann-Margret as Kim MacAfee.
Directed and staged for Musicals at Richter by Donald Birely of New York City, the Richter production features a cast of more than 40 from 15 area towns. Damian Long (Norwalk) portrays Albert and Lauren Sherwood (Norwalk) plays the long-suffering Rosie. Matthew Wilcox (Brookfield) is teen idol Conrad Birdie and Beth Bria (Bethel) is Albert’s meddlesome mother Mae.
Christy Coco (New Canaan) is featured as Kim MacAfee and Luke Newman (Bethel) plays her boyfriend Hugo. Chuck Stango (Middlebury) and Laura Kennedy (Danbury) are Kim’s parents; Evan Smolin (Ridgefield) and Tyler Altomari (Poughquag, NY) alternate in the role of Randolph, Kim’s younger brother.
Kaitlin Cunningham (Ridgefield) and Dominique Altomari (Poughquag, NY) share the role of Ursula, Kim’s friend, and Margaret Buzak plays Gloria Rasputin, Mae’s choice for Albert’s affections.
Produced for Musicals at Richter by Sammy Panzarino of Danbury, the Birdie creative team also features Tina Marie Lorusso of Waterbury as musical director and Matthew Farina of Danbury as choreographer. Janice Gabriel of Brewster, NY stage manages.
Bye Bye Birdie concludes Musicals at Richter’s 2012 main stage musical season, underwritten in part by a generous grant from the Danbury Cultural Commission. Following Birdie, MAR’s Summer Youth Musical Theater Workshop will present a fully-staged student production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jr. August 16-18.
Main stage performances are Friday through Sunday evenings at the Richter Arts Center (next to the Richter Park Golf Course, I-84, Exit 2), 100 Aunt Hack Road, in Danbury. Tickets for Bye Bye Birdie are $23 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $15 for students and children, with reduced rates available on Sunday evenings and Thursday, August 9. All tickets for the Thursday, July 26 preview are $10. Ticket reservations may be made by phone and through the Musicals at Richter website. Grounds open at 7:15 p.m. for picnicking, with curtain at 8:30 p.m. Group rates are available with advance reservation; chair rentals and soft drink/snack concessions are available on-site.
Now in its 28th season, Musicals at Richter is Connecticut’s longest-running outdoor theater. Performances are given on weekends at the Richter Arts Center (next to the Richter Park Golf Course), 100 Aunt Hack Road, in Danbury. Nestled in the hills of Western Connecticut, the Arts Center stage has served as the scenic backdrop for over 75 musicals produced by Musicals at Richter, as well as a professional springboard for hundreds of up-and-coming performers. Musicals at Richter is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. For further information, visit the website at www.musicalsatrichter.org, leave a message at 203-748-6873 or e-mail email@example.com.
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