<bt>Screams and more screams echoed throughout Lee High School. Who were the screams for? Conrad Birdie! Lee High School's production of "Bye Bye, Birdie" includes a creative and efficient set, jazzy songs, and hormone-crazy teen-age girls.
"Bye Bye, Birdie" is the story about singing sensation Conrad Birdie’s (Matt Lent) getting drafted into the war. Teen-age girls everywhere are distressed, and Albert Peterson (Daniel Mustone), Birdie's lyric writer and manager, decides to use the obsessive girls to create a business move. Peterson sets Birdie up to travel to Sweet Apple to sing his farewell song and give contest-winner Kim MacAfee (Julie Clark) a kiss.
The show opens with a creative film showing Birdie's popularity, complete with still pictures of Birdie dancing and girls screaming. Although the band plays well, it is often not in sync with the actors. The sound system makes it difficult to hear the actors over the music.
Gwynn Miller, Rose Alvarez, clearly stands out from the other actors. Miller's acting talent and strong, steady voice move the play along. In "Spanish Rose" Miller acts her way through the song so well that it seems like this was more than a high-school play.
Michael Southee, Hugo Peabody, cracks the audience up with hilarious gestures and expressions every time he steps onto the stage. His creative characterization makes Southee an audience favorite. Lee's set is very effective, with different levels for the house and a revolving wall that indicates various scenes. However, this large set makes it hard to make quick scene changes, so the audience is often left waiting between scenes. There were some sound problems with the microphones. However, special applause should go to Candy Frank (Mae Peterson), who dropped her microphone but continued just as well, if not better, without it.
There is a little disappointment in the lack of dancing and choreography. However, Matt Lent's (Conrad Birdie) hilarious and stunning moves make up for it. Lent's "Elvis" attitude is perfect for Birdie.
"Bye Bye, Birdie" is filled with fun songs, but the majority of the actors never reach the energy level that they should through physical movement (aside from the screaming and squealing). Only Jackie Southee (Ursula Merkle) stands out from the Sweet Apple teens with her top-notch energy. Although the production has several problems, it has bright spots — notably the set, and some outstanding performances.