Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
The Meridian Little Theatre will hold auditions for the award winning musical "Bye Bye Birdie” on Monday, March 4 and Tuesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. at the Highway 39 Playhouse.
“Birdie” marks the final play of Jimmy Pigford’s Farewell Season at MLT. Pigford started his directing career at MLT with “Birdie” in 1965. It was a huge hit. The play will be a final tribute to Pigford’s legacy. He died Feb. 4. "Bye Bye Birdie" will be performed May 16-22 at MLT. Ronnie Miller will direct the production.
“Birdie” is one of the most captivating musical shows of our time. It is a satire done with the fondest affection, and tells the story of a rock and roll singer who is about to be inducted into the army. An English Teacher, What Did I Ever See in Him?, Put on a Happy Face, One Boy, A Lot of Livin' to Do, Kids, Rosie and Spanish Rose are musical theatre classics. This is the tops in imagination and good old fashion fun.
It won four Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Director, Best Choreography and Supporting or Featured Actor. It also won The Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. “Birdie” played on Broadway for 607 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre and 268 performances in London at Her Majesty's Theatre.
“Birdie is set in the late 1950s and teenagers from across the United States are going crazy for the handsome rock star, Conrad Birdie. Meanwhile, his manager, Albert Peterson, is going into debt and has staked his financial future on Conrad's success. Albert's secretary, Rosie, is increasingly frustrated with the time and money Albert is losing on his project. Disaster strikes when Conrad receives a draft notice to join the military. Thus, Albert attempts to stage a farewell party for Conrad in which he is to kiss one lucky fan on the Ed Sullivan Show before he leaves for the army. Kim MacAfee, from Sweet Apple, Ohio, is the lucky girl chosen to be kissed. But conflict arises when her boyfriend, Hugo Peabody, gets jealous, and Rosie becomes fed-up with the abusive treatment she receives from Albert's mother.
Eventually, things turn out alright. Kim and Hugo resolve their problems while Albert agrees to leave managing, become an English teacher, and marry Rosie.
"A vast variety of characters are needed," said Miller. The following describes the larger and smaller roles:
• Albert Peterson: (Tenor/Baritone) 28-37 years; The nervous, excitable, president of the Almaelou Music Corporation who pays more attention to his mother than to his girl friend; large role requiring good comic timing and pleasant singing voice for three nice solos; some dancing skill a plus.
• Rose Alvarez: (Alto) 26-35 years; Albert’s spitfire secretary and want-to-be fiancé with a touch of sarcasm who gets fed up with waiting for him to propose; lots of featured singing and dancing.
• Conrad Birdie: (Baritone) 21-30 years; The “Elvis-style” rock star that is headed into the army; he must be able to sing well, move like a rock star, and burp!
• Kim MacAfee: (Soprano) 14-17 years; confident, sincere teen-aged girl, who is more mature than her “Conrad-Crazy” girlfriends; some dancing required
• Mr. Harry MacAfee: (Tenor) 40-45 years; The frustrated father of Kim and Randolph who feels his stature as a parent is continually challenged; a very funny role for a good, loud, singer with some dance movement
• Mrs. Doris MacAfee: (Soprano/Alto) 40-45 years; the tireless, proper, caring mother of Kim and Randolph who knows just how to handle her irritable husband; some dance movement
• Mae Peterson: (Alto) 60+ years; Albert’s mother, the quintessential “Mamma,” who never stops parenting Albert; one of the funniest roles in the show
• Hugo Peabody: 16-17 years; somewhat dorky, but devoted steady boyfriend of Kim who is jealous of Conrad Birdie.
• Ursula Merkle: The hyper-enthusiastic teen-aged girlfriend of Kim’s who leads the fans screaming for Conrad Birdie.
Teen Chorus: (All Ranges) 13-17 years; lots of energetic male and female singer/dancers who are fans of Conrad Birdie.
• Randolph MacAfee: (Young boy voice) 8-10 years; Kim’s perky younger brother; sings in two songs
• Mayor: (All Ranges) 50 + years; Mayor of Sweet Apple, Ohio; sings one feature song; also appears on the Ed Sullivan Show.
• Mayor’s Wife: (All Ranges) 50+ years; Mayor’s wife, Edna; sings one feature song; also appears on the Ed Sullivan Show.
• Gloria Rasputin: (Soprano) 28-32 years; the gum-chewing, lame-brained, dancing secretary who is Mae Peterson’s choice to replace Rosie as Albert’s fiancé.
• Charles F. Maude: (Tenor) 30+years; Proprietor of “Maude’s Roadside Retreat”; sings a part in the male quartet.
• Maude’s Quartet: (Various Quartet Ranges) 25-55 years; Customers in at Maude’s who sing in the male quartet.
• Townspeople/Parents: Varying ages and vocal ranges and some speaking lines
• Policemen, Reporters, Conrad’s Guitar Man, Dishwasher, Television Cameramen, Train Conductor, Train Station Workers, Location Crew Members, Sweet Apple, Ohio Shriners, and Voice of Ed Sullivan: Varying ages and speaking lines
There are more than 50 major and minor speaking and singing roles to be cast, which include adult parts and a large chorus of teenagers. The Casting Committee suggests those auditioning for singing roles and chorus, sing a song from the musical. A piano accompanist will be available as well as scores. Those wishing to sing their own selection should furnish sheet music, no tape recordings.
Those auditioning should be prepared to work with the choreographer as part of the audition. Carol Merrill is the choreographer for this production. David Benson is the Music Director and Carey Smith directs the orchestra.
The show requires a large production crew. Anyone interested in working on the stage crew, set, props, and costumes, are urged to attend.
For more information, call the MLT office at (601) 482-6371 or visit the website at meridianlittletheatre.com.