Lenora Nemetz has been chosen to play the role of Rose (the role originated by Chita Rivera) in a New York concert performance of the score to Bring Back Birdie, the short-lived musical sequel to the blockbuster Bye Bye Birdie. The performance is scheduled for 7 PM November 1 (changed from the originally announced November 9) at Feinstein’s/54 Below supper club.
Nemetz, who has extensive experience on Broadway and in touring shows, played Rose in a 1991 tour of Bye Bye Birdie.
As previously announced, Michael Walters (co-starring in Paper Mill Playhouse’s The Honeymooners) will appear as as Albert Peterson and Loni Ackerman (Evita, Cats, George M!) will be his overbearing mother, Mae. Alexa Shae Niziak will play Jenny Peterson, the rebellious teenage daughter of Albert and Rose, and Andrew Briedis (Annoying Actor Friend on Twitter) will play Mr. Marshall.
Conrad Birdie, will be played by Tom Schario (Nice Work If You Can Get It national tour). Also announced for the cast: Lucas Schultz, Julia DeSimone, Kristen Gehling, Mildred Gil, Kelly Reader, and Samantha Georgette Sayah.
Bring Back Birdie ran four performances on Broadway in 1981, despite the presence of Chita Rivera again taking the leading role of Rose, and Donald O’Connor replacing Dick Van Dyke as Albert. Michael Stewart’s book reveals what happened to the Petersons and Conrad Birdie two decades after the action of the first show. When heartthrob rock ’n’ roller Conrad Birdie came back from Vietnam, he disappeared for more than 20 years. But now he’s back… for one night only.
Strouse has been finding a home for some of his “lost” scores at Feinstein”s/54 Below. His one-performance A Broadway Musical was given a concert staging there on July 16, and Second Act is planning to mount a concert version of Strouse & Adams’ little-known first musical, A Pound in Your Pocket, on January 24, 2018.
Bring Back Birdie is being presented as part of cabaret’s Second Act Series, produced by Steven Carl McCasland and James Horan. Each evening revisits a short-lived musical, highlighting its neglected score and inviting audiences to rediscover a forgotten gem. Previous evenings have included Shelter (starring Jon Cryer); 70, Girls, 70; Henry, Sweet Henry; The Fix; Onward Victoria; Charlie and Algernon; and Eating Raoul.
Tickets to Bring Back Birdie, which cost $35–$75 plus a food/beverage minimum of $25, can be ordered by clicking here.