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Paynesville Press - November 9, 2005

Choirs present musical 'Bye Bye Birdie'

By Michael Jacobson

Over 40 choir members sang, danced, and acted in the musical comedy "Bye Bye Birdie," which was staged over the weekend.

Bye Bye Birdie Two public shows - on Friday and Saturday nights - drew an audience of approximately 650 total, estimated choir director Cheryl Bungum, who directed the musical. The Paynesville Area Mixed Choir and the Paynesville Area Treble Choir also performed the musical on Thursday to the middle schoolers and fourth and fifth graders in the morning and to the high school student body in the afternoon.

Bryce Fischbach, as rock star Conrad Birdie, sings "One Last Kiss" during a live broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show from Sweet Apple, Ohio. In a publicity stunt, Birdie is brought to a small town to give one last kiss before joing the army in 1958. Cheering Birdie are Sweet Apple teens, from left, Lindsay Wyffels, Steph Johnson, Chelsey Kalkbrenner, Jen Moburg, Jayna Flanders, and Crystal Cromwell.

The musical comedy took place in 1958 and centers around music manager Albert Peterson (Dugan Flanders) and his secretary Rose Alvarez (Caitlin Lien), who write a final hit song "One Last Kiss" and a final publicity event for rock star Conrad Birdie (Bryce Fischbach), who is being drafted into the army One last hit, Peterson figures, will get him out of debt and allow him to become a teacher as Alvarez wants.

His romantic relationship with Alvarez is almost derailed by his disapproving mother (Lindsey Pelton) and events in Sweet Apple, Ohio, where they decide Birdie should go to give one last kiss to Kim MacAfee (Mary Keller), the teenage secretary of the Sweet Apple Conrad Birdie Fan Club. MacAfee, though, has just decided that, at 15, it is time for her to settle down and go steady, causing consternation for her new boyfriend (Peder Thompson) when Birdie arrives. The play has a happy ending with Peterson and Alvarez going to Iowa to take teaching jobs and to get married.

Other leading charact

ers in the musical were: fan club president Ursula Merckle (Jayna Flanders) and Kim's parents Mr. Harry MacAfee (Shawn Reinke) and Mrs. Doris MacAfee (Lauren Vaske).

thumbsup Bungum, who directed the musical Music Man Jr. for the seventh and eighth grade choir last spring, said she wanted to do a musical for the first time with her high school choirs because of the talented students she has, especially in the junior and senior classes. While some of the students have acting experience, many do not, and the musical gives them a new experience in acting.

Things worked out in the end for Dugan Flanders as Birdie's manager and Caitlin Lien as his secretary.

Junior Mary Keller, who played Kim MacAfee, said it was her first experience acting. She said she was excited about the musical as soon as Bungum proposed it and that working with her classmates to stage it was fun, though a lot of work.

Bungum said she chose the musical "Bye Bye Birdie" because it has so many parts, providing lots of opportunities for her students. Even the small parts, in the chorus for instance, were vital to making the musical a successful production, she added.

Auditions for parts were held in September, and choir members have practiced the songs in class since school began. In addition to class time, students have held 20 evening practices in September and October. Assisting Bungum is theater veteran Ian Pelton and student teacher Erica Monson, serving as acting coaches and helping the students with their stage movements.

phone The musical ran just over two hours and featured nearly 20 songs, of which "Put on a Happy Face," sung by Flanders to a sad girl (Jen Moburg) is probably the best known.

Sweet Apple teens Steph Johnson and Emily Mohr hear the news that Kim MacAfee is going steady on the party-line phones in the 1950s.

The musical replaced the choirs' normal fall event, its Soup, Sandwich, and Song fundraiser.

"Bye Bye Birdie" originally ran on Broadway starting in 1960, starring Dick Van Dyke as Albert Peterson. Van Dyke also starred in the movie version of "Bye Bye Birdie" released in 1963.

The book was written by Michael Stewart, the music by Charles Strouse, and the lyrics by Lee Adams. The show was presented by arrangement with, and the music and dialogue material furnished by Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc., 560 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022.

Cast of Characters
Bye Bye Birdie
(In Order of Appearance)

Albert Peterson: Dugan Flanders

Rose Alvarez: Caitlin Lien

Helen: Steph Johnson

Nancy: Sam Chevalier

Alice: Chelsey Kalkbrenner

Margie: Lindsey Wyffels

Penelope: Meredith Schaumann

Suzie: Emily Lindeman

Harvey: David Ruprecht

Sweet Apple Teen Chorus: Ashley Atkinson, Danielle Binsfeld, Jared Eickhoff, Harrison Fangmeier, Dugan Flanders, Tiffany Gronseth, Kaila Hartmann, Sheena Hoekstra, Adriano Ihrke, Kristin Lang, Shonda Martinson, Jen Moburg, Emily Mohr, Cassandra Olmscheid, Ezra Thompson, and Michael Vaske

Ursula Merkle: Jayna Flanders

Kim MacAfee: Mary Keller

Mrs. Doris MacAfee: Lauren Vaske

Mr. Harry MacAfee: Shawn Reinke

Conrad Birdie: Bryce Fischbach

Teen Girls: Callie Bennett, Laura Binsfeld, Kaitlin Burlingame, Crystal Cromwell, Katrina Daby, Meghan Doll, Natasha Fangmeier, Brianna Fischbach, Jayna Flanders, Rachelle Hasbrook, Ariel Jones, Heidi Kuhl, Alexa McCorquodale, Ashley Mullen, Heather Rondeau, and Alyssa Tish

One Girl: Callie Bennett

Sad Girl: Jen Moburg

Mrs. Mae Peterson: Lindsey Pelton

Excited Teen: Crystal Cromwell

Crowd: Ashley Atkinson, Danielle Binsfeld, Sam Chevalier, Jared Eickhoff, Tiffany Gronseth, Sheena Hoekstra, Adriano Ihrke, Steph Johnson, Chelsey Kalkbrenner, Emily Lindeman, Shonda Martinson, Emily Mohr, David Ruprecht, Meredith Schaumann, Ezra Thompson, Michael Vaske, and Lindsey Wyffels

Reporters: Kaila Hartmann, Kristin Lang, and Cassandra Olmscheid

Trainman: Harrison Fangmeier

Hugo Peabody: Peder Thompson

Fred: Jared Eickhoff

Mrs. Merkle: Natasha Fangmeier

Lee: Ezra Thompson

Mayor: Ezra Thompson

Mayor's Wife: Alyssa Tish

Man's Voice: David Ruprecht

Another Voice: Jared Eickhoff

Third Voice: Rachelle Hasbrook

Fourth Voice: Jared Eickhoff

Girl's Voice: Ashley Mullen

Randolph MacAfee: Sam Bungum

Gloria Rasputtin: Kaitlin Burlingame

Ed Sullivan's Voice: Jared Eickhoff

TV Stage Manager: Meredith Schaumann

TV Stage Hands: Ashley Atkinson, Danielle Binsfeld, Tiffany Gronseth, Kaila Hartmann, Kristin Lang, Emily Lindeman, Emily Mohr, and Cassandra Olmscheid

Quartet of Townspeople: Sam Chevalier, Shonda Martinson, David Ruprecht, and Ezra Thompson

Bartender (Maude): Ian Pelton

Geezers: David Ruprecht, Ezra Thompson, and Peder Thompson Mrs. Johnson: Ariel Jones

Another Parent: Katrina Daby

Policeman: Harrison Fangmeier

Director: Cheryl Bungum

Stage Managers: Brianna Fischbach, Heather Rondeau, and Peder Thompson

Acting Coaches: Erica Monson and Ian Pelton

Accompaniment: Cheryl Bungum

Lighting: Ian Pelton and Mike Putzke

Set Construction and Design: Gretchen O'Fallon and Ian Pelton

Painting, Props, etc.: Choir Members

Costumes: Colleen Pelton

Sewing: Deb Bennett, Kris Daby, Diane Nelson, Kayla Nelson, Elaine Seifert, Becki Thompson, and Jeanne Virant

Poster and Ticket Design: Val Miller

Program: Shawn Reinke

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