As previously announced, Tony Award-winning director Walter Bobbie will return to the other side of the footlights to play Mr. McAfee. The New York Times reports that the company will also feature Tony Award winner Karen Ziemba, Emmy winner Doris Roberts, Daniel Jenkins, Bob Gaynor and Keith Nobbs. Jerry Zaks, represented on Broadway this season with Little Shop of Horrors, will direct.
The story of Bye Bye Birdie revolves around the rock 'n' roll superstar and teen idol Conrad Birdie who has been drafted into the war. His manager and songwriter Albert concocts a get-rich scheme in the hopes that he'll finally be able to leave the business and marry his girlfriend Rose. The plan: get Conrad to sing the song "One Last Kiss" on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and give away a kiss to one lucky girl.
The musical with a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams is set for a Broadway-bound revival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC aiming for a New York berth in late 2004. The show is also being considered for another film adaptation by Columbia Pictures.
Bye Bye Birdie debuted on Broadway April 14, 1960 at the Martin Beck Theatre, running 607 performances on The Great White Way before closing Oct. 7, 1961. Gower Champion directed and choreographed the production starring Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke. The production won the 1961 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as Featured Actor (Van Dyke), Producer (Edward Padula), Director, Choreographer and Author. Best Score had not yet been introduced in the Tonys, but Strouse and Adams received Tonys by association for the Best Musical win.
The musical — set mainly in the smalltown of Sweet Apple, Ohio — features songs such as "The Telephone Hour," "How Lovely to Be a Woman," "Spanish Rose" and "Put on a Happy Face." Tickets to Bye Bye Birdie at City Center, 131 West 55th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Ave.), call (212) 581-1212 or (877) 581-1212 outside metropolitan NYC, NJ, and CT. For more information, visit www.citycenter.org.