The phone rings. You pick it up. It’s a woman calling to inform you that you’ve been selected to be kissed by Conrad Birdie, the hunkiest teen idol around — live on The Ed Sullivan Show. This is not a dream. You are Kim MacAfee and you are soon to be the most envied girl in the U.S. So begins Paul VI Catholic High School’s invigorating production of "Bye Bye Birdie."
Kyle Jeter delivered a memorable performance [March 11] as the conceited, idolized singer, Conrad Birdie. He had the true ‘tude of a cocky rock star — complete with lip curling, hip swiveling and stage-strutting. During the highly energetic “Honestly Sincere,” he had his female (and male) fans screaming and fainting left and right; they dropped like flies as he serenaded them with his deep, Elvis-like voice.
Both Jennifer Roberts (Rose Alvarez) and Erica Hopper (Kim McAfee) had beautiful voices and strong stage-presence. Steve McGonigle was arresting as the ill-tempered, sarcastic Harry (Dad) McAfee.
“Put on a Happy Face” was a very fun and spirited number, during which Albert Peterson (played by Drew Grant) tried desperately to cheer up a Crying Girl (played by Hope MacDonald). Together, the two delivered a dynamic tap dance, which was sure to put a happy face on much of the audience.
Sophie Malakooti was hysterical as Ursula Merkle, the eccentric, obsessive and overly-enthusiastic president of the Conrad Birdie Fan Club. Malakooti’s physical comedy and outrageous antics were very Lucille Ball-esque; she was sure to have the audience laughing whenever on stage.
Michael Borrelli was highly entertaining as Hugo Peabody, Kim’s nerdy and jealous boyfriend. He delighted the audience with his cracking voice and endearing awkwardness. Chris Stinson was both charming and whimsical as Harvey Johnson, the lisping geek desperately seeking a date.
The orchestra performed very well, and even got into the spirit of things by sporting cool shades. Despite a few minor glitches in sound and certain slow scene changes, the entire production was well-executed. The Paul VI cast was wonderfully animated and enthusiastic, true to the rock-‘n-roll feel of "Bye Bye Birdie."
Cappies is a high school critics and awards program involving 50 schools in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. areas.