Set Breaks at Birdie, Stars Vamp

PlayBlog   Set Breaks at Birdie, Stars Vamp
 
The audience at the Oct. 14 evening performance of Broadway's Bye Bye Birdie at Henry Miller's Theatre got a bonus show about 20 minutes into the first act.


Near the end of scene four, set in the MacAfee living room, a panel from a set piece at the rear of the stage fell off its frame.  Moments later, when panels and living room furniture were to have slid into the wings in a transition to a railroad station set, the living room pieces remained stubbornly in place.  The young actresses playing zealous Conrad Birdie fans made their entrance, gamely singing the Conrad Birdie song amidst the living room furniture, but as they finished, John Stamos appeared and waved them offstage, explaining the set problem to a raucous audience response.

Shortly after the curtain came down, Stamos emerged to vamp while the set issue was resolved. Pointing out his former "Full House" cast mate Bob Saget as well as comedy legend Don Rickles in the audience, he invited both to join him onstage.  Saget took him up on his offer and the two vamped for an additional ten minutes, with Rickles playfully heckling from the audience.  In addition to some off-color joking, Saget, noting all the texting going on in the front rows, remarked that this was "a Twitter moment," which seemed to set off a new wave furious texting.


Gina Gershon emerged intermittently to provide status updates (and once appeared brandishing an autographed poster of a teenage Stamos) while Bill Irwin pitched in by reprising his "pulled under a curtain" routine from his clowning repertoire.

 

After being notified that the set problem had been resolved, Stamos and Saget cleared out and moments later, the curtain rose to reveal the correct train station set with the actresses playing Birdie fans in place.  When Stamos joined them onstage shortly after, with his character apologizing for being late, the audience erupted in laughter, and Stamos couldn't suppress a laugh as well. The remainder of the show went on without a hitch.

Bye Bye Birdie opens Oct. 15.

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