It began with Kidstage and a couple of chairs and conference tables in a bare room. It became hello again, hello again, “Bye Bye Birdie.” Did I hear exciting?
Theatergoers know – the induction of Elvis Presley into the Army in 1957 inspired this time-proven crowd-pleaser. Teen girls fearing the loss of their idol went into hysterics. Fathers fearing for their daughters’ virtue breathed sighs of relief. The King’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll” style had the entire nation “All Shook Up.” Since 1960, “Bye Bye Birdie” has since convinced audiences: Elvis has not left the building.
Nor is he likely to when Kidstage kicks into action this weekend.
One of the very early run-throughs I saw more than a week ago was with actors and a piano; no orchestra, costumes, makeup, props or sets.
Cues for actors and other slip-ups popped up here and there and you had to use your imagination. But the songs, the comedy and the irrepressible enthusiasm showed through big and bright.
Chance Michael Eldridge and Carlie Watson made sparks fly as Albert and Rose, Birdie’s hotshot manager and the girlfriend who is sick and tired of being put off.
Star was written all over Delaney Guyer in the role of Kim, the small-town teen spotlighted for national TV to receive Birdie’s last kiss before induction.
For boyfriends of girlfriends who worship rock stars, Mitch Baker as Kim’s boyfriend, Hugo, put real pain and suffering on parade.
Worrywart dads with daughters will have to laugh at themselves with Erik Hasstedt as Kim’s pop.
I kid you and kid you not. This Kidstage will put a spring in your step. I went in expecting a rough run-through. I came out walking on air.
‘Bye Bye Birdie’
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10-19
WHERE: Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett
TICKETS: $16 general, $14 youth and seniors; available by calling 425-257-8600 or go to www.villagetheatre.org/boxoffice.php