Report: Columbia Pictures To Bring Back Bye Bye Birdie to Film

News   Report: Columbia Pictures To Bring Back Bye Bye Birdie to Film Another cameo for Chita? From Chi-town to Sweet Apple?
Original Bye Bye Birdie cast (L-R) Dick Gautier, Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke.
Original Bye Bye Birdie cast (L-R) Dick Gautier, Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke. (Photo by Bob Cato)

With the success of "Chicago," the moviemusical bandwagon has set off a number of sparks in the film industry. Add Bye Bye Birdie to the dozens of projects in talks to see the big screen. The musical with a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams is being considered by Columbia Pictures for yet another film adaptation, according to The Hollywood Reporter. No actors or directors have been mentioned yet.

Bye Bye Birdie debuted on Broadway April 14, 1960 at the Martin Beck Theatre — followed by transfers to the 54th Street Theatre and the Shubert 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 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 — 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."

The Stewart-Strouse-Adams musical has already seen two screen adaptations — the 1963 film starring Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh as well as the 1995 television remake with Jason Alexander and Vanessa Williams.

The librettist and songwriting team attempted a sequel to the musical titled Bring Back Birdie which opened at the Martin Beck March 5, 1981 with Chita Rivera reprising her role opposite Donald O'Connor. The sophomore effort at the material was not as successful; the show ran only four performances before closing on Broadway.