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Theatre Review: Bye Bye Birdie Flies High in Edison

Another Success in Roosevelt Park's "Plays in the Park" Series
Plays in the Park

EDISON, NJ--Between the Korean and Vietnam wars, back when one needed the assistance of an operator to make long distance calls came along a popular play known as "Bye Bye Birdie."

Apocryphally known by some as the anti-West Side Story, Strouse, Adams and Stewart’s parody about the drafting of Elvis Presley has become much more than that. It has rightfully earned its standing in the American musical theater.

Lighthearted, but not silly, this stage work reflects the simplicity and optimism of the burgeoning American suburbia that probably never existed.

That means Bye Bye Birdie should be dated, but it’s not, and with the zany visitors and residents of Sweet Apple, Ohio—has deservedly endured and become a timeless musical comedy, maybe even a classic.

Theater is a collaborative art and this production of Bye Bye Birdie, in addition to showcasing the high level of talent on stage, brings to mind the efforts and contributions made by people who never to get to take a bow.

Three of these unsung individuals are Set Designer Mike D’Darcy, Properties Mistress Gabrielle Komleski, and Costume Coordinator Carolyn McCaffrey.

They did a great job providing this production with color! And that vivid color, set both the play’s style and its mood. One knew immediately they were in a somewhat whimsical place that still maintained a fun sense of reality.

Director John Menter, Stage Manager Brianna Gruell and Choreographer Amanda Grace, had no trouble coordinating this large and standout ensemble cast that included in featured roles: Joe Riley, Kimberly Diane, Vicky Tripodo, Natalie Romeo, Izzy Figueroa, Johnathan Fishman, Michelle Crefeld, Steven Jack Sayegh, Evan Krug, Shannon Doyle and Dana Simone.

All of the cast, along with the Sweet Apple teens and parents, gave us an exemplary night of musical comedy.

Bye Bye Birdie runs at Roosevelt Park untill August 9. It’s highly recommended and it's only seven dollars for a ticket.