The J. Taylor Finley Middle School drama club’s production of Bye Bye Birdie this Friday and Saturday night promises to be one of the group’s best shows ever.
“This is the largest cast and crew Finley Middle School has had in the drama club since I began as club advisor,” said teacher Gina-Marie Molvaut, who serves as the show’s director. “The members of our club are showing a lot of enthusiasm about this play, which takes place in the late 1950s and centers around a rock-and-roll idol named Conrad Birdie, an Elvis Presley persona.”
Ms. Molvaut is joined by Daniel Santangelo, who is the production’s musical director and Christopher Devoe, who is the stage crew manager. The three are working very closely together.
Huntington High School junior Abby Semelsberger and senior Andy Ulloa are the production’s student directors. “I am so proud of all the hard work these kids have put into this show,” Ms. Semelsberger said. “Watching them onstage gives me such joy and I can’t wait for everyone to see how amazing they are. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to student direct.”
Performances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, February 8-9 at 7 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5 for students and $8 for adults.
Rehearsals are going very well and the show is shaping up to be special in every way. “It’s going amazing and it will be a fantastic show, but a bittersweet opening night know it will be my last time student directing with amazing actors and actresses,” Mr. Ulloa said. “It was an amazing process, working and strengthening their talent on stage with the help of my close friend, Abby Semelsberger.”
Finley’s drama club is staging the “young performer’s edition” of the show. “A loving send-up of small-town America, teenagers and rock & roll, Bye Bye Birdie remains as fresh and vibrant as ever,” states a Tams-Witmark overview of the production. “Teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie has been drafted, so he chooses All-American girl Kim MacAfee for a very public farewell kiss. Featuring a tuneful high-energy score, plenty of great parts for teens, and a hilarious script, Birdie continues to thrill audiences around the world.”
The show has been coming together over a period of months. “The students have been involved with the drama club since October and are looking forward to the culminating moment of their performances on February 8-9,” Ms. Molvaut said. “The entire production team has been collaborating closely together, sharing each one’s varied talents and skills, to make this production the best it could be for our young performers.”
Audiences are sure to be delighted with every aspect of the show, especially the actors and actresses. “We look forward to them taking the stage to take us all for a walk back to the past with this classic musical by Michael Stewart, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams,” Ms. Molvaut said.
The cast features Mack Brunner, Aria Hannah, Dylan Brinn, Kyla Crowder, Sophia Segal, Jack Semelsberger, Erin Purcell, Nick Baretta, Delia Caruso, Sarah Corwin, Giada LoPorto, Arianna James, Markus Fehrenbacher, Michael Donatelli, Angie Hernandez, Riley LaCosta, Danielle Mendikyan and Linnea Wong.
The show’s ensemble consists of Aisy Franciscovich, Brooke Parks, Devon Boyle, Jordan Rosse, Jordana Paniccia, Julia Henderson, Katerina Damiano, Layna Abraham, Lily Tierney, Linnea Wong, Nadeera Ali, Sophia Tine, Stella Giorda, William Berry and Zoey Rosario.
Stage crew duties will be handled by Ben Root, Dyana Augustin, Emma Hannigan, Emma Waters, Hannah Byers, Logan Toth, Miladys Vila-Saz, Rachel Morina, Ryan Curran, Samantha McGloin, Annika Galvin, David Chavez, Sol Rodriquez and Samuel Mollineaux.
The Finley auditorium is completely handicapped accessible.