“Remember Elvis and Ed Sullivan?” asks Lake Highlands High School theater arts teacher Abigail Crabtree. If you do, you’ll more than likely enjoy the school’s performances of Bye Bye Birdie performed later this month.
“Bye Bye Birdie is for everybody,” Crabtree says. “You get to remember the ’50s, and the kids get to wear ponytails and letterman sweaters. It’s all about the fun innocence of that time.”
In December, students began rehearsing four to five times a week after school, learning music, lines and dances. Under the technical direction of Brant Davis, other students helped build and paint sets and run lights and sound.
Crabtree, who came to the Lake Highlands faculty recently after serving as a professional director in Tennessee , has directed the musical twice before and is looking forward to it again.
“I know our students will do a great job with this musical,” Crabtree says. “We have tremendous talents in our school. The students love to perform, and it’s a tremendous social opportunity for them.”
Although this year’s four-week rehearsal period is one week shorter than usual, Crabtree says the students will rise to the challenge.
“We demand a certain level of professionalism from our students,” Crabtree says. “They know they have to keep their grades up despite the many hours of rehearsal required of them.”
Also involved in the production are musical directors Michael O’Hern and Terry Berrier.
Of the 130 students who auditioned, 70 were cast, Crabtree says. Student leads include Taylor Smith as Albert Peterson, Billy Goad as Conrad Birdie, Hayley Williams as Rose Alvarez, Dana Carlson as Kim MacAfee, Austin Engel as Mr. MacAfee, Ashley Vernon as Mrs. MacAfee, Rachel Carver as Ursula Merkle, and Meredith Davis as Mae Peterson.
The three performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 23-25. Reserved seats are $10 and general admission is $9; student prices also are available.
“Our musicals are very high-caliber,” Crabtree says. “They are really popular, and they always sell out.”