Quaker Valley’s rendition of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ will appeal to all ages

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | 11:01 PM


There will be lots of happy faces inside the Quaker Valley High School auditorium, as students perform “Bye Bye Birdie” on March 5-7.

The show is an all-out good time, students say, with lots of big numbers that will surely bring smiles to all.

“It’s a fun show. If you come see the show, you will have a good time from beginning to end,” said senior Joseph Stater, 18, who plays Albert Peterson.

The show follows Conrad Birdie, a rock and roll star, who is drafted for the Army to the dismay of fans everywhere. The theme of the show can be summed up in the song, “Put on Your Happy Face,” cast members said.

Director Austin Wolford worked with Quaker Valley’s production staff to select this year’s show.

They looked at which students would be interested in partaking and wanted a classic tale, as the school has featured more modern-style shows in the last few years.

“The music is great, there’s lots of awesome dancing. It’s funny,” Wolford said. “You fall in love with the characters from the moment the curtain opens and it’s great to be able to go on this musical journey with them.”

With a cast of about 50 students, an orchestra pit with seven students, a stage crew of about 20 students and more than 80 students who helped build the set, the show brings together a large number of the school’s population.

“What’s fun with our shows is we strive to get a lot of student involvement and something that we’re very proud of here at Quaker Valley is we have students involved in literally every aspect of the show,” Wolford said.

Stater was excited when he learned Quaker Valley would be performing “Bye Bye Birdie.”

He was in the show in fifth grade as one of the teenagers during a summer production at Robert Morris University.

“It’s very lighthearted,” he said. “I think it will have a good crowd because it’s something that people can understand.”

The show is very relatable, said senior Jillian Umstead, 18, who plays Mae.

She relates the teens freaking out over celebrity Conrad Birdie to kids nowadays getting excited at the sight of Harry Styles. “It’s definitely the thing where parents and kids will be smacking each other on the shoulder like, ‘That’s you!’ ’’ she said with a laugh. “Part of what makes this show funny is that we’re doing a parody of real humans, but it’s so exaggerated that it makes it funny.”

The cast says the show will appeal to all ages.

The older crowd will get a lot of references to things like “The Ed Sullivan Show,” while the younger crowd will relate to the teens.

“There’s some jokes that I say that I’m like, ‘I don’t get this, but I’m sure that people over 60 will,’” Umstead said.

Stater said there are a lot of jokes in the show that “timed well,” and will have all ages laughing.

Cast members said their favorite part of the show is all of the big numbers and songs.

“Everything is like a spectacle,” said junior Mary Savocchia, 16, who plays Rosie.

Cast members say everyone in the show at Quaker Valley stands out. The ensemble and dance pieces are always hits.

Over the last few months, the cast has really bonded. Coming to musical rehearsals everyday is a joy, cast members said. The show is fun for the cast, too.

“I always say that after musical rehearsals end that you have to go back to reality,” Savocchia said. “It’s such a dream to come here and sing and dance with your friends.”

Cast members said they hope everyone will leave the show singing and dancing — the songs, after all, are rather catchy.

“It is just going to be a fun night,” Wolford said. “It is going to have people tapping their toes. People are going to bond with these characters. There’s a character in this show for everyone. It’s very relatable.”