Former teen idol Troy Donahue will be featured as the father of teenybopper Kim in a new touring production of the musical Bye Bye Birdie. It's only the second time since college that Donahue has appeared on stage (he did a 1997 Love Letters in Sacramento, CA). Donahue appeared in the films Cry Baby and Imitation of Life, though he's best known for his work on TV's "Surfside Six" and "Hawaiian Eye."
In a statement, Donahue explained his reason for finally going onstage in a full-fledged tour: "I've had many opportunities to do theatre in the past, both at resident companies and on tour, but the time wasn't right. Today, that's changed. Birdie will give me an opportunity to connect with my friends and fans across the country."
Co-starring in the tour are Casey Marshall (Birdie), Krista Pigotti (Kim) and Chuck Ragsdale (Albert).
Produced by Encore Attractions of Scottsdale, AZ, the tour began in Long Beach, CA, Jan. 17, and ends in Honolulu, HI, May 17. They're currently in Fort Myers, FL and will come to the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, IL, March 28.
Other dates will be anounced shortly.Bye Bye Birdie tells of rock 'n' roll rolling into a small town when a young girl's Elvis-type idol arrives before his stint in the army. A 1991 touring production of the Charles Strouse (music), Lee Adams (lyrics) and Michael Stewart (book) show starred Tommy Tune, Anne Reinking, Susan Egan and Marc Kudisch (as Conrad Birdie). Songs in Birdie include "Put On A Happy Face" and "Kids." A 1981 Broadway sequel, Bring Back Birdie, starred Donald O'Connor but ran only four performances at the Martin Beck Theatre.
-- By David Lefkowitz